Do you know someone with a peanut allergy? Chances are you answered yes to that question. An allergy to peanuts is one of the most common food allergies. It is estimated that 0.6% of people in the United States are currently affected by peanut allergies, and that number is on the rise. In fact, studies revealed that the number of children in the U.S with peanut allergies has tripled between 1997 and 2008. A growing portion of our school children are coping with this allergy and yet there is little medical insight into to why this is happening. It is important for all of us to understand the allergy to help keep kids with peanut allergies safe.
Here is a list of helpful tips for parents new to the topic of nut allergies:
Know The Facts: There is a difference between an allergy to peanuts and an allergy to tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.). This can be confusing, so find out exactly what your child’s friend can and can’t eat.
Plan Ahead: When planning a first time playdate with a child who has peanut allergies, talk to the parents ahead of time about lunch options. This way mealtime will be peanut-free and stress-free for everyone involved.
Read The Labels: A surprising number of foods are manufactured in plants that also process peanuts. This can lead to trace amounts of peanuts being found in a variety of seemingly nut-free products. So, always read the label carefully to see if an item is actually peanut-free. This is especially true with baking ingredients. Double check what goes into your chocolate chip cookies before you bring them to the next bake sale.
Beware Of Take-Out: A number of ethnic restaurants serve dishes that contain peanuts. Even if a dish does not specifically have peanuts in it, cross contamination in fast paced kitchens can occur. With no food labels to read on take-out containers, it can make ordering out difficult. Always call and let a restaurant know about an allergy before placing an order.
Talk To The Parents: Nothing is more important to a parent than the safety of their child. If you have questions concerning a child’s peanut allergy, don’t hesitate to contact the parents. It’s always better to play it safe when it comes to food safety.
Does your child have a peanut allergy? What are some other tips parents need to know?