While food now regularly comes with a warning label if it "may contain nuts" and many schools are instituting no-peanut policies, researchers have found that many people still don't believe in nut allergies. That presents a huge problem for parents whose kids could die if someone in the room decides to unwrap a peanut butter sandwich.
A new study published in the journal Chronic Illness found that in addition to having to deal with a condition that makes going about you daily business difficult, kids who have nut allergies routinely face prejudice. Children from the 26 families interviewed by researchers said that they're bullied by classmates who say, "I've got nuts and I'm gonna touch you!"
Of course, kids can be tremendously cruel — and adults can be too. The study found that the friends and even family members of kids suffering from nut allergies often see the condition as, "frivolous and self indulgent fad invented and maintained by attention-seeking people." Parents reported that other adults weren't just refusing to cooperate in their efforts to keep nuts away from their child, they were actually purposely giving the kids nuts to test if the allergy was real. (It's unclear what they plan to do when they find out the answer is "yes.")
Researcher Dr. David Luyt says he hopes that with better public education, people can come to accept that the parents of kids with nut allergies aren't making the condition up for their own amusement. "These parents and children see a society that is willing and able to accommodate vegetarians and many others with dietary restrictions, but not them," says Luyt. Actually, society often doesn't accomodate people's dietary restrictions, but Luyt still makes a good point. Vegetarians get picked on and slipped meat products all the time, so kids with nut allergies should take comfort from the fact that they're not the only ones being targeted by horrible people.
Nut-Allergy Sufferers Face Prejudice — New Study [EurekAlert]
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