Peanuts on Planes: The Myth of Airborne Allergens


Why Are Peanut Allergies Becoming So Common?

Air borne peanut allergies

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Twenty minutes after take-off we began smelling nuts—within seconds my daughter started to react. I grabbed the epinephrine, nebulizer, and Benadryl and started medicating my then 5 year old.

There are no words to adequately describe my fear of being in the sky at 35, feet and watching my daughter react to one of her deadliest allergens. That day…we got lucky. We are not alone on this journey of navigating air borne peanut allergies travel and life-threatening allergies to the inhalation of nut proteins. There are others who have had similar, even worse, reactions on board flights. Nearly three air borne peanut allergies ago, Alisa Gleason of Sacramento went into anaphylactic shock on board a United flight when a woman sitting several rows in front of her opened a bag of peanuts.

According to published reports, Gleason said as soon as she inhaled the airborne peanut proteins, it felt as though her lungs collapsed. The plane diverted and made an emergency landing in St. Louis where Gleason spent two days in ICU. This past August, a 4-year-old girl went into anaphylactic shock.

On this flight, air borne peanut allergies, the flight attendants made repeated announcements about a passenger with life-threatening allergies to peanuts and requested that such products not be opened. Sadly, a passenger, sitting several rows away from the girl, opened a bag of nuts. The girl stopped breathing and luckily survived after being revived by epinephrine.

The plane was diverted to make an emergency landing. The FAA does not require airlines to track and report such data. Airlines can however implement several simple measures to safeguard passengers who have life-threatening allergies to nuts. Many of these measures have already been discussed.

Albeit simple, the trick is how to get the airlines to implement and comply with these measures to protect the millions of people with food allergies. This is easier said than done especially when our community itself cannot agree on these measures.

During numerous discussions with air borne peanut allergies top food allergy organizations and advocates, it has become clear that the biggest stumbling block is the request for buffer zones, air borne peanut allergies.

Medical advisory boards of these food allergy organizations are hesitant to support buffer zones due to the lack of scientific evidence to prove that airborne reactions can occur.

Think about it, would does altitude affect high blood pressure let your child participate in a study where death is a possible outcome? Leading food allergy researcher Dr. Nadeau points out that data exists air borne peanut allergies aerochamber studies that may be helpful in determining the risk of airborne reactions.

Air borne peanut allergies these aerochamber studies, people with allergies breathe in certain particles and wait to see when they get symptoms. According to Nadeau, one can infer some degree of an allergic reaction in the average food allergy patient on an airplane. Please see information below for specific data, air borne peanut allergies. Furlong said individuals have died by inhaling their allergen. She spoke specifically of one man who died after inhaling shrimp and another girl who died as a result of inhaling chick peas.

Even if you find it difficult to support buffer zones, think about the risk of physical exposure when a passenger is sitting in such close quarters with other passengers. Case in point, college junior Zac Chelini was sitting at the airport waiting to board his flight when a woman sitting next to him opened a package of trail mix which included nuts.

Chelini says the mix spilled everywhere, including on himself. He immediately went into anaphylaxis, and had to be rushed to the hospital where he received multiple shots of epinephrine. One wonders what would have been the outcome of this exposure had he been on a plane at 35, feet. No doubt, he would have been protected from this type of exposure had he been sitting in a buffer zone on an airplane. The solution to addressing food allergies on airlines is to take a proactive stance and unite as a community.

I air borne peanut allergies encourage each and every one of you who sits on a medical advisory board of a food allergy organization to support these measures, and to allow these organizations to support an initiative in which we all have a stake. As long as we have even one voice from this community casting doubt on these measures, we will not move forward.

We need to take action now because even one life lost to anaphylaxis is too many. Kari Nadeau of Stanford University, the following information is hypothetical but one can infer some degree of an allergic reaction in the average food allergy patient on an airplane:. The following links were used to gather airplane data: Kari Nadeau air borne peanut allergies reviewed this article and has approved its contents.

Much of his work, in recent years, has involved the use of aerochambers. I reached out to him to find out what he could tell us about airborne allergies. If air borne peanut allergies share my concern, I urge you to make your voice heard. Call on your representatives in Washington to support legislation that will protect families with food allergies.

Together, we can be the catalyst for change. Become a member of one of the following organizations, air borne peanut allergies, call them, encourage them to get involved:. More Than An Inconvenience, air borne peanut allergies. Sign and Share This Petition: Amy Wicker is a journalist and the founder and president of AllergySafeTravel, a not-for-profit travel resource for individuals with food allergies.

She is also an award winning producer. Wicker has also worked for the U. Department of Justice and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, air borne peanut allergies.

It is so challenging and frightening for so many to travel because of this. If lighters, pocket knives, nail files and guns can be so easily banned from airline boarding air borne peanut allergies travel…. WHY cant nuts also be banned??? Would wearing a dust mask help prevent the proteins of in my daughters case, air-borne bananabananas being inhaled on an international flight?

What a great question Cindy. Hope you have a safe trip. BTW, my daughter wears a mask, and it does seem to help. My grandson is highly allergic. He will go into shock if he touches a surface or smells it.

He also has asthma. We are all nervous about this flight. I have not booked tickets yet as I am still trying to figure what is the best airlines to fly with him. Hi Natalie — Thanks for contacting us. I would highly recommend JetBlue. We just flew JetBlue for the first time over the weekend, and I have to say I was impressed.

We typically sit in the last row of the plane so we only albuterol ipratropium nebulizer to worry about the rows in front of us. The flight crew let us preboard to wipe down the seats. The flight attendant then asked passengers who were sitting in front of us probably five or six rows to refrain from eating nuts.

She repeated her announcement air borne peanut allergies second time as the plane was getting ready to take off. Accommodations on the other airlines are pretty hit or miss, but hopefully JetBlue will work for your family. Safe Travels, and let us know how it goes.

To give greater urgency to the growing problem of anaphylaxis and asthma on board planes due to airborne and contact exposure to peanuts and tree nuts, I want to share with you anecdotal and scientific evidence that this issue deserves more attention. First, allow affected travelers time to pre-board flights for wiping down seats, air borne peanut allergies, seat belts, tray tables, and surrounding areas.

Second, flight attendants should make pre-flight announcements requesting passengers to refrain from eating nut products due to passengers with life-threatening nut allergies. Passengers should be made aware that if nuts are opened and eaten on the aircraft there is a possibility that the plane may need to be diverted from its existing schedule and route to make an emergency landing. Third, establish a nut free section or buffer zone around allergic passengers.

How large that zone needs to be should be determined by nut allergic passenger and flight crew. Kari Nadeau of Stanford University, the following information is hypothetical but one can infer some degree of an allergic reaction in the average food allergy patient on an airplane: The average is about 60, cubic feet, so that is cubic meters. There is data to show that in aero chambers, an allergic person could react with respiratory tract symptoms at between nanograms per cubic meter. That would be 67,ng in cubic meters or 40ng per cubic meter in an airplane.

There are about seats on aso that means each seat probably takes up about 4 cubic meters give or take so that is nanograms in the air around a seat that could possibly induce an allergic reaction.

Send the attached air borne peanut allergies to your congressman and senator on Capitol Hill. Become a member of one of the following organizations, call them, encourage them to get involved: More Than An Inconvenience 4.


Air borne peanut allergies