In comparison, noted Christakis, 50 people die from bee stings, 100 from lightning strikes and a whopping 45,000 from motor vehicle accidents. Another 10,000 people suffer traumatic brain injuries due to sports participation and 2,000 people drown every year, said Christakis. Yet, he said, no one has called for an end to athletics.
Other experts weighed in on the issue.
"This editorial really shows how emotional the issue really is, and it always goes back to education and getting people to understand perspective," said Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder and CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. "Until there's a cure, we need to do everything we can to keep these kids safe."
Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, chief of allergy and immunology at St. John Hospital in Detroit, said she'd like to see schools focus more on emergency planning for kids with severe allergies, because it's impossible to make anyone's environment completely nut-free. "Having a nut-free table, or even a nut-free school, gives you a false sense of security. It's like living in a very safe neighborhood -- robberies happen even in the safest neighborhoods," Appleyard said.
"Schools need to have policies in place for treatment. Teachers, aides, etc. should be trained in using an Epi-Pen [against anaphylactic reactions], and school officials need to make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency," she said, adding, "that any emergency plan in place should be practiced, like fire drills are."
Learn more about nut and peanut allergies from the Nemours Foundation's KidsHealth.
SOURCES: Nicholas Christakis, M.D., attending physician, Mt. Auburn Hospital, and professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder and CEO, Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Netw
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