Monday, November 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Parties

I came across this article about mothers in Australia who take their kids to organized ‘parties’ to test for a peanut allergy.

There appears to be a heightened awareness of peanut allergies amongst new parents compared to years ago. It seems everyone fears their child may be allergic to peanut butter and worries about the first time they introduce it. A recent study I read showed that 8% of children in the United States under 18 years old suffer from food allergies. The most common allergen was peanuts. Of the 8% with food allergies, about 39% had a history of severe reaction and 30% were allergic to multiple foods. The number of kids with food allergies went up 18% between 1997-2007. Considering these numbers, it comes as no surprise that parents have this fear.

As you know, we have been introducing nuts very slowly, and we have been actively doing this near the hospital in the event of an emergency. I’ve never heard of such a party here in Montreal, but perhaps Australian moms are onto something. I have heard that there is a room at the Montreal Children's hospital for parents to bring their kids to introduce peanuts. I asked an allergist at the hospital about this, and he laughed at this rumor. Yes, there is a room for allergists to do food challenges on kids known to have allergies, but not for random people to come and introduce their kids to food for the first time. Perhaps the hospital cafeteria would be a good public venue for this sort of party!


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