Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Food Allergy Deaths: Less Common Than You Think

I have a new piece on food allergies up on the Huffington Post today. Check it out:

The number of deaths from food allergies, as collected from 2.5 million death certificates across the country, is miniscule. Only eleven people died from food allergies in 2005, the last year for which we have data available. More people died from lawnmower accidents.

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Blogger Knitted_in_the_Womb said...

As a mom of 5 children ranging in age from 10 years down to 2.5 months...

I APPLAUD YOU! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

I will have to blog about this once my husband finishes updating my website. I've got to tell you, I HATE it that I can't send a stupid peanut butter granola bar to school with my 5th grade daughter for her snack because "someone else in the 5th grade has a severe peanut allergy, and that student might touch some peanut residue on the desk and have a severe reaction." Poppy cock!

No peanut butter, can't send yogurt in (because it will get spoiled before snack time...ummm, NO, and just in case folks are super worried about it, I even bought Go-gurts so that I could FREEZE the stupid things, more so they would still be moderately cold by snack time, not because I was worried about the yogurt spoiling), it does tend to limit my choices in choosing healthy snacks to send to school with my kids!

Now to get the school on board...

11:29 AM  
Blogger M. H said...

This piece, like its Harper's antecedent, is Brilliant!. Sincere compliments for getting the story researched, written and in circulation.
My personal view is that this story is but one of a number of similar stories that have as elements:
- flawed policy decisions affecting broad swaths of Western societies,
- based on flawed statistics
- promoted by all manner of non governmental agencies with hidden financial motives, (and occasionally governmental institutions)
- and levered by a lackadaisical (or underfunded)press corps seeking to maximize hysteria
- which in turn is soaked up by the masses who may collectively suffer from Attention deficit Disorder, and in any event seem to have abandoned common sense.

Having these personal views tends to bring on a mild form of depression. There is a sense of disillusionment.
And then your work. Reading it restores hope. Or maybe hope is restored because I know others are reading it, and will surely be influenced to look at press items with a more critical eye.
Do keep up your efforts in this direction.

9:55 AM  
Blogger The Grauke-Collins Experience said...

As the parent of a child diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy, I have very mixed feelings about this.

Our son's allergy is serious enough that it's landed him in the ER a few times, swollen, covered in welts, and, most frightening of all, fighting to breathe. So we carry epipens and benadryl with us and spend a lot of time requesting that people not feed him (you'd be surprised by the number of folks who don't think twice about giving someone else's child food without asking). He's only four, but he's thankfully learned to say "No, thank you, I might be allergic." While I would never expect or request that someone else change their eating habits to accomodate my child, I do ask that people respect my wishes and not assume that the pretzels or granola bar or whatever that they're offering is okay. That's my decision to make.

On the other hand, I'm also stunned by the number of people who have self-diagnosed their children as having allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and milk products, when, in fact, they've never seen an allergist and their child may only have a temporary intolerance. Why anyone would want to impose such restrictions on a child is beyond me. It's also really hurt those rare children with life-threatening, documented allergies.

As for the commenter who calls contact allergies "poppy cock," I'm sorry that you and your child have been inconvenienced. I don't know the people involved in this particular situation; however, I can assure you that contact allergies are a reality for some kids. Our school tries to accomodate such kids by offering allergen-free tables at lunch, which seem to work well.

Regarding the commenter who brought up the Harper's article -- I'm assuming that (s)he's referring to the article on breastfeeding. If so, I'd like to point out that breastfeeding is a personal choice, while a medically diagnosed peanut allergy is not.

I guess that I find all of this very disheartening more than anything. Why this issue has to be so polarizing, I just don't know.

5:12 PM  

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