Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fake Peanut Allergies

A recent story regarding peanut allergies bothered me a great deal.  In my opinion, most of these food allergies we have to worry about are made up...at least they didn't really exist that much when I was a child.  How is it that in the day and age we are in where we have cured and eliminated many deadly diseases in our country, but create new food allergies?  There is not a debate of if we need food to survive, so why are we now becoming allergic to it?

The recent story in the headlines that got under my skin, was about an elementary school girl that forced an entire class of children to alter their lives just for her.  Her classmates are not allowed to eat peanut butter or peanuts before coming in to school, and are forced to wash their hands thoroughly multiple times throughout the day.  This is disruptive to class time and takes a lot of time to get 6 or 7 year olds up out of their seats, in line and then have to monitor each of them to ensure they wash their hands correctly.

There are a couple of ways to look at this story and it is hard to make a decision that is fair.  I do understand the aspect of the girl in the class...she could die from any minimal exposure, and that would suck.  I also understand making adjustments for people with a disability or problem.  The issue is, generally complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act does not force everyone around them to alter their lives and deprive innocent people of things they enjoy.  It is unfortunate that someone may have an allergy that cause them to live a secluded life, but you can not go through life feeling entitled to everyone changing their lives for you.

The interview with the father was the tip of the iceberg for me.  Watching him in his car, because he was to fat and lazy to get out of it and stand up, almost in tears because his daughter could not go to sleepovers was my decision point.  This was the main concern the father chose to talk about on the news report.  I have to wonder what created the allergy in the first place.  I think back to when my first nephew was born and my sister-in-law was afraid to have peanuts around him for the first few months before they could test him for the allergy.  When I was a child, there was no such test and we were exposed to everything.  I have actually read several articles relating to these food allergies, and realize that we have done this to ourselves.

In our over sanitized world, we have "protected" our children so much, that their immune system has not developed enough to battle off the smallest of germs or allergies.  We are scared to take our babies outside because of one or two so called doctors that were probably on Oprah, telling us we should wait till they are older.  We are afraid to let our kids play on public playgrounds or play in the dirt without disinfectant wipes to clean them off every 10 minutes.  If you shop in the mall now, you see a sanitizing station every 15 yards.

If you overprotect your children, they will develop health and/or mental issues. It is proven and there are many journals that have published studies proving this.  All you have to do is google them and they will come right up.  Every friend I had in college that was home schooled in high school often went wild their first time away from home, and many failed out their first year.  They were not stupid by any means, but they had never had to discipline themselves to study on their own and balance their personal lives without the help of their parents. 

Our bodies behave in the same way; the first time we are out in the open, our imune system will go wild because we have never experienced an unregulated environment before.  If we are slowly introduced to it from a young age, many of the problems we see will not exist.  I know there is not a cure all answer for everyone, but it can make a difference.

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