Everyone is a teacher when it comes to informing others about peanuts and allergies
You don’t need to be a certified teacher to let others know about the dangers of a peanut allergy. There is some misunderstanding about the severity of these allergies in the general public, and the only way to eliminate these is through education.
Millions of people have environmental and other allergies
Most people base their opinions on food allergies, especially allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, on their own experience with allergies. Someone who is allergic to pollen, trees, or cats feels terrible when these allergens bother them. They take an antihistamine like non-drowsy Benadryl and often feel much better.
There is no cure for peanut allergies
People with environmental allergies wonder why someone allergic to peanuts doesn’t just take an antihistamine and stop complaining. The real difference, of course, is that a peanut allergy can cause anaphylaxis and even death. There are only a few allergens that can do this, and peanuts and tree nuts are two of them.
Respecting how environmental allergies affect others is important
To get the public to understand peanut allergies and to cooperate with eliminating them from public places may require acknowledging the misery that the general public has with non-food allergies. Far fewer people have peanut or nut allergies, and they get lots of attention. It is because of the severe consequences that these allergies can cause, but few people realize this. Many people with environmental allergies believe that their allergy is just as dangerous.
Waking up wheezing or unable to breath is also a serious condition
People allergic to pollen, animals, or other things also feel terrible with their allergies. Someone allergic to feathers who sleeps on a feather pillow at a relative’s house may need to use asthma medication and could have a stuffy nose or sinus infection for days from being around feathers.
There could even be a severe reaction that requires epinephrine at the hospital from being around cats, dogs, or other allergens. It is highly unlikely that someone would die from an allergic reaction like this, but they could die from an asthma attack.
Understanding on both sides is needed
Mutual understanding from those who have peanut allergies and those who have none, or who have environmental allergies is needed. When this understanding comes about, and the general public realizes that a child with a peanut allergy could die within minutes after touching a swing or other playground equipment that has peanut remnants on it from another child’s hand, they are more willing to cooperate.
All parents want their children to be safe
Parents want to safeguard their children, and if they had a child who could experience anaphylaxis from sitting at a table in the school cafeteria where someone just ate a peanut butter sandwich and spread a little bit on the table, they are more willing to keep peanut butter out of the school. There will also be more of a chance that they will support policies that their school board passes if we teach others about peanut allergies.