Air travel may be dangerous for passengers with tree nut and peanut allergies.

Many airlines still serve tree nuts and peanuts in onboard meals. For people with peanut or tree nut allergies, this poses a significant risk.

However, a new study suggests that travelers can take precautions to reduce their risk of an allergic reaction on the plane.

Survey Reveals Risk

A recent survey of 3,200 passengers who had flown internationally revealed that 349 reported suffering an in-flight allergic reaction. While the overall risk is low, “it’s hard to imagine a more helpless situation than having a reaction while you’re at 35,000 feet in an airplane,” commented lead study author Dr. Matthew Greenhawt of the University of Michigan’s Food Allergy Center.

Precautions

Passengers who took certain precautions were found to have a lower rate of in-flight reactions. Requesting accommodations such as allergen-free meals or a peanut-free buffer zone, cleaning their tray table with sanitizing wipes, and avoiding the use of airline-provided items like blankets and pillows reduces the risk of a reaction.

In a published statement, Greenhawt said he hopes that the findings inspire airlines and passengers to reconsider how they could work together to reduce the risk of reactions.

The study was published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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