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Old 03-13-2014, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
5,622 posts, read 3,613,863 times
Reputation: 16468

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When I was growing up, in the 1970s and 80s, I don't recall ever even hearing about peanut allergies, much less having to adjust my public eating habits in response to them. People ate peanut butter sandwiches and peanut snacks with abandon -- in schools, on airplanes, pretty much everywhere.

And yet, fast forward to today, and its almost like peanuts are on the same level as cigarettes. Lots of schools have completely banned peanut butter, not only from their menus but from the lunchboxes of those who bring their own food as well. You can't even get peanuts on most planes. And there are signs everywhere saying that this or that product was made in a facility that also handles nuts, or not.

What happened? Has the rate of peanut allergies been the same, but sufferers just had to grin and bear it in the old days? (And if so, how did sufferers cope with the ubiquity of peanut products in the larger society?) Or has the rate skyrocketed precisely because kids aren't exposed to peanut products nowadays, and thus their internal systems haven't had a chance to develop an immunity to it?
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,717 posts, read 83,345,493 times
Reputation: 41551
Quote:
Originally Posted by bus man View Post
When I was growing up, in the 1970s and 80s, I don't recall ever even hearing about peanut allergies, much less having to adjust my public eating habits in response to them. People ate peanut butter sandwiches and peanut snacks with abandon -- in schools, on airplanes, pretty much everywhere.

And yet, fast forward to today, and its almost like peanuts are on the same level as cigarettes. Lots of schools have completely banned peanut butter, not only from their menus but from the lunchboxes of those who bring their own food as well. You can't even get peanuts on most planes. And there are signs everywhere saying that this or that product was made in a facility that also handles nuts, or not.

What happened? Has the rate of peanut allergies been the same, but sufferers just had to grin and bear it in the old days? (And if so, how did sufferers cope with the ubiquity of peanut products in the larger society?) Or has the rate skyrocketed precisely because kids aren't exposed to peanut products nowadays, and thus their internal systems haven't had a chance to develop an immunity to it?
don't even get me started on this subject.!!!!!!
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:01 AM
 
7,104 posts, read 9,316,480 times
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Allergies of ALL kinds are more prevalent now. I heard a fascinating report on NPR that explained one possibility: all autoimmune problems -- including allergies, MS, Crohn's disease, and type I diabetes -- went from rare to very common dating from the time the public health service made recommendations that eradicated hookworm from the American population. Living in a world full of minor parasites apparently gives the immune system something concrete to work on; without that challenge, they are likely to turn on the body's own cells or something else harmless -- like peanuts. They haven't proven the parasites/allergies link but I hope it's being seriously looked into.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:20 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
22,546 posts, read 28,479,255 times
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There were always people with peanut allergies. They just took responsibility for what they ate and didn't expect the entire world to be responsible for their safety.

On the allergy thing, I saw a study that said farm kids didn't get allergies because they grew up with lots of dirt and exposed to all sorts of bugs and germs and molds. Today's kids, many of them, are raised in a sterile environment. It could just be that children's immune systems are no longer challenged to develop.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Jollity Farm
254 posts, read 319,454 times
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I've wondered this myself! I've also recently had people tell me they were allergic to green veggies such as spinach and another that was allergic to citrus. I never would have even thought to think of that.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:14 PM
 
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Of course, a lot of people who say they are allergic just don't want to eat whatever it is.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:34 PM
 
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Another reason is that in earlier years, a lot of those kids died before anyone knew what the problem was. Sad but true.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
24,809 posts, read 23,754,084 times
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Originally Posted by weezycom View Post
Another reason is that in earlier years, a lot of those kids died before anyone knew what the problem was. Sad but true.
Good point. I hadn't thought of that.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:06 PM
 
44 posts, read 49,448 times
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There is a theory -- I haven't researched it enough to agree one way or the other -- that GMO foods are what's causing allergies to foods that were previously nonallergenic.

Like the OP, I grew up many decades ago and you NEVER heard of anyone being allergic to peanuts and peanut butter.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:25 PM
 
584 posts, read 657,242 times
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Much of the problem is that many parents want to sterilize everything thing. When we had are first kid, a doctor that was very prominent in the allergy field told us to let the kid get dirty. It appears to have worked.

It's strange, it has been shown that every part of the human body benefits from exercise, yet many do everything possible to assure that their immune system is lazy. Then they expect it to work at 100% when needed.
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