Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Peanut Allergy and Air Travel: Make Your Voices Heard!

I recently blogged about the current evaluation by the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding the proposed ban on peanuts for all airlines and I'm talking about it again because it's so important. This story is getting a lot of media attention and the food allergy naysayers are out in full force. It's time to speak out because many who oppose the ban are pushing back--hard. We need to show our numbers and strength here, not to mention the very good reasons why this food should be banned from air travel.

Peanuts and tree nuts aren't required to keep airplane engines aloft. People won't die if they are denied peanuts and tree nuts for a couple of hours--but in-cabin exposure to this serious allergen can cause death or life-threatening reactions. People don't choose to have a life-threatening food allergy and shouldn't be denied safe passage on a public conveyance because of this medical condition, all because of a snack that is easily replaced.

Please click this link to the FAAN page about this and you'll find the DOT link that will allow you to comment on this. FAAN also offers advice and direction on using the DOT link, so check that out too.

We have until August 9th, so please make your voices heard! So many people are making ignorant comments and remarks, downplaying peanut and tree nut allergies and portraying those in support of a ban as being overprotective and even "un-American." I guess having allergies isn't American?? In any case, please state your case calmly and share your personal airline stories if you have them.

You CAN make a big difference here. Remember, smoking used to be allowed on airlines, too. So did liquids bigger than 1 oz. Things change. People will get used to peanut/tree nut ban on airlines. But we must speak up.

So click here to find the link to DOT and then share your comments with the government. They want to know how we feel--and how often does that happen???--so let's tell them.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog on a google search. My son is allergic to peanut and we are flying in less then 2 weeks. I am so thankful for the info you provided and the opportunity to voice my opinion on the safety of people with food allergies and air travel. I left a comment and am currently on the phone with Delta updating our travel information to include the peanut allergy in our itinerary. I doubt it will do any good but I'll do anything I can to ease my mind and the chance that he has a reaction mid-flight. Thanks again for the info!

Tanya said...

Thank you so much for providing the link. I left a comment!

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ancelwilliams said...

my son as a peanut allergy and has recently been to hospital to see dietitian who told me when we go abroad in august to inform the airline as the air gets circulated on plane and if any one is eating nuts in could cause a outbreak.today i saw pediatrician and he said that is extreme and not to say anything,i don't know who to listen too any one out there had a problem like this?
cheap flights to Moscow

Jenny said...

AncelWilliams--You bring up a great point because it reflects the larger issue of peanuts on airplanes.

Your pediatrician may not be the best source for food allergy knowledge. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently put out new guidelines for diagnosing and recognizing food allergy in children. Hopefully, this will get all of the pediatricians up to speed.

Regarding the doctor's "extreme" comment--that is a matter of opinion, not fact. Highly allergic people can and do react on airplanes that serve peanuts. Visit www.foodallergy.org for more info on this. They have done the research. I have also heard from many readers who have had this experience.

For reasons I have yet to comprehend, many doctors choose to downplay the lifestyle implications of living with severe food allergies, despite patients experiencing life-threatening reactions--sometimes only from contact. Maybe because they need to be concerned mainly with the medical issues, they don't always think about how a person's life is affected once they leave the doctor's office.

You take a big risk when you enter a airplane with a highly peanut-allergic person. However, no one can tell you what to do--ultimately it is your choice to make.

I suggest visiting a board-certified allergist. Maybe your child is one of the lucky ones who is not as sensitive. However, past reactions do not predict future ones, that is, you can react mildly one time and have a severe reaction the next. Allergic reactions do not always follow logic.

Botton line: See a qualified allergist. I am not a doctor and can only offer my life experiences with a peanut-allergic child. Good luck to you!