In the United States, more than 50 million people have food allergies and
annually it costs the country approximately $18 billion. Nut allergies,
mainly peanut allergies, have been at the forefront of children’s
health issues for decades, due to the extreme sensitivity that children
have to these allergies. It is estimated that between 6 and 8% of children
under the age of four have some form of food allergy. Though there are
varying reactions that a child may have to a peanut, sometimes the reactions
are so extreme that they could lead to
anaphylaxis or even death. The seriousness of the reactions have many parents worried
for the safety of their allergy-prone children in places where the parent
cannot control the environment, such as at school.
Food Allergies and School Politics
Over the last 10 years, scientists and researchers have learned a lot about
the development of allergies in children and an effective way to remove
the danger in common spaces like schools.
School policies have gone into effect that would protect students who have serious reactions
even to the slightest contact to the allergen. However, there are issues
regarding how to balance one child’s allergy with the freedom of
families within the school wanting to consume peanuts or peanut-derivatives.
For example, for many families,
peanut butter may be the most affordable and easiest lunch food option to make sure a
child is receiving enough protein, along with other key nutrients.
Not only is it difficult to control the actions of others in a school environment
for the sake of one child’s allergy, the development of food allergy
policies for schools is limited at best, with training of teachers and
administrators for the tell-tale signs of a food allergy leading to possible
liability issues on behalf of the school.
Maryland’s Policy on Food Allergies in Schools
Maryland, according to a study conducted by the
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, met 17 of the 23 policy standards, establishing Mit as one of the states
most concerned about implementing food allergy policies in schools. Additionally,
Maryland passed a
Senate Bill back in 2012 that provided public schools within a certain jurisdiction the ability
to administer auto-injectable epinephrine to any student suffering from
anaphylaxis regardless of whether it has been established by a medical
professional that the student is having an allergic reaction that is causing
anaphylaxis or the student has a prescription for the epinephrine. This
has the potential to save lives, but may also open up the school to liability
for issues that can arise resulting from injecting epinephrine into a
child who is misdiagnosed.
The Peanut Skin Patch: A Possible Alternative?
With all of the changes happening in the school environment, scientists
and researchers are looking for ways to make more young children who have
serious allergies to peanuts safer. According to a study put out in the
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, a skin patch has been invented that may help sufferers to build up a
tolerance to nuts. The skin patch does this by releasing
peanut proteins into the skin of the wearer, raising the peanut threshold and tolerance cellularly. The skin patch
was shown to be most effective for children between the ages of 4 to 11,
but less effective in older patients. However, the skin patch is not 100%
effective and there is still the danger that the patch can cause mild
to serious reactions depending on the person. Roughly 80% of the children
who wore in the patch in the clinical study had some reaction, such as
a rash, to the area of skin where the patch was adhered.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
If your child was injured as a result of negligent exposure to peanuts
or any other food allergy at school, it is important to consult with an
experienced personal injury attorney. Please call the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.