What is a Peanut Allergy?

What is a Peanut Allergy?

~By Jessica Kenny

Because my family is immersed in this peanut and tree nut free environment, I tend to forget that not everyone knows what food allergies are.  I have found that the more information you have about it, the safer my kids are, and the less fear you may have. 

What is a food allergy?  A food allergy is when the body thinks it has come in contact with a really bad germ (a protein molecule) and tries to protect the body by shutting its systems down.  It’s the antibodies that really attack the body and this is why food allergies can be so severe.  In the most severe cases anaphylaxis sets in.  In my son this presents as a very severe asthma attack and he stops breathing.  Others can have a heart attack or a sever loss of blood pressure.  My daughter starts vomiting violently. 

The only way to prevent this is to keep the food away from the person with the allergies. If I cook at a house that I know has nuts, or if I have any doubts, I have a series of steps I take.

1. I put everything that might contaminate the food far-far away.  (Up in a cabinet where it will not be anywhere near the food).  Cross-contamination is a serious threat to “safe” foods.  This is why I almost never let my kids eat homemade food, even if someone tells me there aren’t peanuts or nuts IN the food.

2. I clean everything the food is going to touch with soap and water including my hands, cutting boards, plates and utensils.  Soap binds to the food and oil particles and washes it down the sink with the water.  Sanitizer does NOT do this. Sanitizer only kills germs. 

3. I read every label.  I read all the ingredients and the allergy warning.  If the ingredients have no nuts or peanuts, and the allergy warning says nothing about peanuts or tree nuts it is usually ok. If my “sixth sense” starts ringing about anything, I do not use it. 

As long as I follow these 3 steps I know my kids will be safe. If you have any questions about how you can help make the church a safe place for people with food allergies please stop me and ask or email me at jkennyfamily@msn.com

 

   March 2019   
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