Airborne Peanut Allergies?
I have been asked this question so many times, “Does your daughter react if the allergen is airborne?” The first time I was asked, was by my daughter’s preschool teacher. Honestly, I didn’t know. I explained we keep a peanut free home, and I have never eaten anything with peanuts around her. I had to call my daughter’s allergist and ask. Her allergist explained that all children with peanut allergies can have an airborne allergic reaction, but typically it is uncommon.
Research has shown that cooking or heating peanuts can release allergens into the air and can cause reactions. However, researchers simulated different settings including a school cafeteria, an airplane, and a sporting event. Study participants wore personal air monitors while sitting next to open jars of peanut butter, while sitting next to someone who ate a peanut-butter sandwich, and while sitting next to someone as they opened multiple packages of peanuts. All were in an enclosed area. In the last study people shelled and ate peanuts, then threw the shells on the floor and walked around on them. In none of these cases were the researchers able to detect any airborne peanut protein. Finally, the last study was of 30 children with documented allergies to peanuts did not have any reaction after breathing with a cup of peanut butter held one foot from their nose over a 10-minute period.
Yet another study found three cases of children who had allergic reactions to peanuts in the classroom in which a teacher or other adult was watching the child and knew that the child did not touch or eat the peanuts. In all of these cases, peanut butter was being heated up in the classroom.
I still would rather not chance it, but it’s good to know that in case we ever do end up in any of those situations, the likelihood of my daughter having a reaction is slim.
Information copied from http://foodallergies.about.com/od/foodallergybasics/a/Clean-Peanut-Residue.htm