Friday, September 30, 2011

Why are so many kids today allergic to nuts?

Are we going nuts about allergies?

My son came home from school with a note asking us not to send in any food containing "peanuts/nuts & cod-fish/shellfish." I had two reactions. First, who sends cod into school? Even shellfish seems a bit strange, but maybe a shrimp salad, I guess, isn't too odd. But cod?

Next, why does it seem so common for kids to be allergic to nuts these days? My son's been asked not to bring in nutty foods despite the fact that the child (children) with the nut allergy is (are) not in his class.

The note makes clear that even breathing the air with these foods around could cause Anaphylactic shock. For that reason every child in the school must avoid bringing in these proscribed foods.

If this was the first time we'd received such a note I might not find it so strange, but we've had these notes a few times with all our children. What's going on? Why are there so many children who are so violently allergic to nuts?

I went to a much bigger elementary school than any  of the schools my kids have attended. We ate in a massive lunchroom with - I'm guessing - 200 kids. Never were we told that food containing nuts might cause anyone an issue. And, peanut butter was one of the more popular sandwich fillers.

Given that you'd expect that we would have been under strict orders to not bring in peanut butter sandwiches or that there would have been fatal or near fatal incident on an almost daily basis in our lunchroom.

I'm not ready to dismiss these allergies as a nonsense, but really I don't understand where they were in the 1970s.