Although a peanut allergy is rather common, the stories of peanut allergy deaths can be rather dramatic, scary, and ultimately tragic. Some people are so allergic to peanuts that they can have a reaction triggered just by walking into a room that has them inside of it. Stories of deaths occurring because of a kiss after someone has eaten peanut butter fills a parent with fear. The panic may not always be justified because other health issues, such as asthma, may also be in play. The threat of an allergic reaction is still, however, very real.
Statistics on Peanut Allergy Deaths
1. About 9,500 children every year are admitted to hospitals around the world because of the reaction they have to a food allergy.
2. Food allergies may be as high as 10% in children, but estimates also show that allergy prevalence may be as low as 2%.
3. The percentage of Americans that include peanuts in with their regular diet on a consistent basis: 73%.
4. One study found that, between 1997 and 2002, the number of children with peanut allergies doubled.
5. People with a family history of asthma or peanut allergy are at higher risk for the allergy themselves.
6. When someone has asthma along with an allergy to peanuts, the risk of anaphylactic shock increases.
7. Recent research seems to indicate that babies who are born via C-section have a 5x greater risk of developing a food allergy than those born naturally.
8. In a clinical study, those who had an allergy to peanuts were given incremental doses of real peanut powder. At the start of the study, those who had an allergy could tolerate just 3.5 mg. After 68 weeks, the average tolerance was 996 mg.
9. The percentage of the population that is affected by a peanut allergy: 1.3%
10. A peanut allergy affects 7% of the siblings of someone who has a peanut allergy as well.
11. Peanut allergies tend to have more severe symptoms than other food allergies.
12. Up to 33% of those who have peanut allergies have reactions that are classified as “serious.”
13. There is no known cure for a peanut allergy.
14. Less than 21% of patients with peanut allergy will outgrow it.
15. The percentage of children who have at least one food allergy: 4%.
16. More Americans than ever before say they are suffering from allergies.
17. When asthma is included, this issue affects more than 60 million people in the United States alone.
18. Allergies are the 5th most common chronic disease in the United States.
19. Approximately 6% of allergy sufferers have food/drug allergies as their primary allergy.
20. Each year, allergies account for more than 17 million outpatient office visits.
21. Food allergies account for 30,000 visits to the emergency room each year.
22. More than 200 deaths occur each year due to food allergies.
23. The annual cost of allergies is estimated to be nearly $14.5 billion.
Facts About American Food Allergies
That’s because there are 8 foods that account for 9 out of every 10 food allergies that doctors have documented. The problem for the standard American diet is that many of these foods that cause severe allergies, including peanuts, are considered a staple food. They are in virtually everything that we eat in some form or another because companies that process foods will process multiple foods on the same equipment.
This may be a reason behind the development of food allergies that are becoming more prevalent, but the actual reasons are not really known. There have been multiple research studies conducted on the matter and the only real conclusion that has been formed is that more research and data needs to be gathered in order to know what is really going on.
For peanut allergies, some children are able to outgrow the problem. Others, however, find that their food allergy becomes a lifelong ordeal. Some adults find that they develop food allergies over time as well. Most cases of food allergies don’t end up in death. The most common reaction is hives that form in and around the mouth, tingling in the mouth, or minor swelling. It’s only in the most severe reactions that anaphylactic shock may occur.
Peanut Allergies That Lead to Death
The stories of food allergy deaths are always tragic because they are almost completely preventable. The good news is that deaths from peanut allergies, although the leading cause of food allergy deaths, are very rare every year.
The goal of living with a food allergy is awareness. Knowing what sub-food products that peanuts may be in is critical to living a healthy life. There are many foods that contain peanut dust or powder that one wouldn’t expect. Peanut butter is an obvious danger, but any prepared foods may have peanut residue on them. Ingredient lists may not even contain this information, but if the equipment that processes the food has peanut products on it, there should be a notification about it.
If you know that peanut allergies are severe, then carrying around an epi-pen, based on your doctor’s recommendation, could save your life. An immediate, severe reaction can be controlled with this allergen reducer, allowing you to seek out medical help and treatment without as much of the threat of a closed airway. In turn, this can help people live a more normal life, even in a world that has peanuts everywhere.
The costs are great. It isn’t just the cost of health or life that is at stake. Billions of dollars are spent every year to treat allergies. More than $11 billion alone is purchased either directly or through a health insurance plan for medication alone. Another $1 billion is spent on the cost of visiting the doctor to get a prescription or have treatment. With small dose exposures being so successful, it should become a treatment option for allergy suffers right now. That way, a year from now, a peanut allergy suffer won’t have to suffer so much any more.