Peanut Allergies by Brenaya Hewlett

March 19, 2007 at 7:12 am (Canada, education, kids, medical, nut-free, peanut, safety, school, shots, social issues, USA)

“May contain traces of peanuts” “Made in a facility that also processes peanuts.” These are two sentences I hate the most.” The one sentence I love the most, “made in a peanut free facility” Chairperson, honourable judges, ladies and gentlemen and fellow students. I’m going to share with you how a person gets an allergy, what anaphylaxis is and how challenging it is to live with a peanut allergy. Do you like peanuts? Well I sure don’t because to me, they are criminals.

I got my allergy because I was born prone to allergies. I have significantly lower levels of enzyme which breaks down the chemical that causes bronchial spasms. I also have high levels of IgE antibodies that are activated during and allergic reaction. Allergies are hereditary instead of someone just getting it from one parent I got it from both of mine. Because both of my parents are already lacking enzyme to give to me they give me even more IgE antibodies. I got my peanut allergy after I was born. Since I was born prone to allergies that is what started it. When my mom was breast feeding me almost every food made her nauseous but she still needed her proteins so she overdosed on peanut butter and whole peanuts. Since I have low levels of enzyme my kids will have terrible allergies because I have practically none to pass on and way to much IgE to give. Studies show that over sanitized conditions in the west have caused immune systems to overreact to absence of other infections.

What is anaphylaxis? A dictionary defines this as “a term commonly used to denote the immediate transient kind of allergic reaction characterized by a contraction of smooth muscle and dilation of capillaries due to release of pharmacologically active substance classically initiated by the combination of an allergen, mast cell-fixed and cryophilic antibody known as IgE” you might now have understood any of that but in simpler words anaphylaxis is an immediate allergy reaction that completely shuts down every single thing in your body. It is a life-threatening reaction when cells in your respitory system swell causing suffocation, cardiac failure and loss of consciousness. It must be instantly treated with epinephrine to buy you enough time to get to the hospital. Statistics show that 1.5 percent of Canadian kids have deadly peanut allergies and 15 children die a year because their peers at school were eating peanuts around them.

It is extremely challenging to live with a peanut allergy. Just imagine living your whole life knowing you could just touch a door knob and die. Try a little experiment, be me for a week you cant eat anything with any type of nut in it. Each food that you do eat you have to read the ingredients twice to be sure. At the bottom of the list get used to seeing made in a facility that also processes peanuts, and if it does say that sorry you cannot consume. If you accidentally touch peanuts, scrub your hands arms and face for five minutes and air dry. if you smell peanuts cover your mouth and nose and run away until the smell is gone. It is harder than it may look!, And there is always cross-contamination. When you are at your friends house you cant eat anything. If they had peanut butter on the knife and then put the knife in the margarine and you ate it well it is now time to go to the hospital because you are in anaphylactic shock. To sum it up, peanut allergies aren’t just something that the victim takes cautions about but everyone needs to.

In conclusion, 73 percent of people don’t know enough about allergies to be around a person that has severe reactions. Today you heard how people get allergies, what anaphylaxis is and how annoying allergies are. Next time you meet someone with any type of severe allergy show some sympathy for them. If they go into shock get out the epi pen and pull off the grey cap at the tip and jab it in their thigh, believe me it might sound weird but you will be their hero.

Brenaya wrote this speech for school. Thanks for sending it in!

Oh, PS. Sometimes people write to me and say they are having trouble breathing. If you do that, PLEASE go to the emergency room or doctor as before you even finish your email! I would drive you, myself, but oftentimes I get emails from other countries from children saying they are having trouble breathing. As a parent (and a human being) it troubles me to think that you emailed me and then perhaps collapsed.

If you write me once because you are feeling sick, please write me later and tell me you are okay. I worry about anaphylaxis and asthma and what might be happening to you.

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3 Comments

  1. Heather Fraser said,

    We have reduced my son’s sensitivity to peanuts in a RAST test from Level 6+ to Level 4. I am continuing to work, successfully, on reducing and eliminating his allergies to peanut and other foods. The means by which we have achieved this is available at http://www.naturalhealthtech.com . I have recently completed studies to become a RhA, holistic allergist and am using the technology. Please contact me for more information. I would be pleased to give a talk/presentation on this new technology. I am one of 47 people currently in the world who use the technology. I am in Toronto. 416-619-4934

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