If you or someone you love has a severe peanut allergy, it can change the way you do everyday things – including going to the movies. Of course, having a movie night at home will give you peace of mind, but if you want to adventure out, you can take a few precautions.

Transference of Allergens

While most movie theaters do not serve raw or roasted peanuts, for people with severe allergies there is a concern for other types of exposure. Popcorn may use peanut oil or vegetable oil containing peanut oil. Many kinds of candy bars sold at the theater have nuts in them. If someone has eaten one of those candy bars, even during the prior show time, and then touched the arm of the chair, peanut residue or oil could get on the arm of the chair.

The subsequent transference on to you or your child can cause an allergic reaction. Many people will bring sanitizing wipes with them to the theaters to clean the arms of the chairs. (You don’t have to have an allergy to want to clean those arms!)

Bring Your Own Snacks

Most theaters have a policy against bringing food into the theater, but if the choice is avoiding a major health risk or facing an unlikely confrontation with an assistant manager of the theater, you’ll probably choose to stuff Ziplock baggies.

Airborne Allergens

Unless you choose the people who sit around you, there’s not a lot you can do about the people you sit next to. Take a group with you and seat a barrier between you and the strangers around you. If your allergy is severe and you are concerned about a significant allergic reaction, don’t hesitate to tell the strangers around you that you have a life-threatening allergy to nuts. No one wants to be responsible for sending someone to the doctor, and most people would happily move so that everyone can have an enjoyable experience.

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