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KTBS (LA): School plans to restrict peanut products due to potentially fatal allergy
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[b]School plans to restrict peanut products due to potentially fatal allergy[/b]
Created: September 6, 2007 04:52 PM Modified: September 6, 2007 06:07 PM
Peanuts are a snack or a sandwich for some, but a death threat for others. About 1.5 million Americans suffer from peanut allergies, and more than 100 die each year from them.
A Catholic school in Shreveport, where seven students have peanut allergies, is moving to keep any food containing peanuts off campus.
Craig Smith's 7-year-old son, Jack, suffered a severe allergic reaction earlier this year when he touched some peanut residue on a lunch table at St. Joseph Catholic School. That's all it took to cause the little boy's windpipe to be constricted.
Smith works a few blocks from the school and arrived to find his son gasping for breath.
"It's not something I would wish on anybody," he said of the sight of seeing his son. "He could hardly breathe. I had him say his name to see how he was doing. He could barely say his name. You could see he was crying, but you couldn't hear anything because his windpipe was closed up."
Those with the allergy can go into shock if they're exposed to any type of peanut product -- even being breathed on.
St. Joseph school administrators are asking parents not to send peanut butter sandwiches or other items containing peanut products in their children's lunches, or as snacks.
Some parents are complaining, but Smith said this is nothing short of a life-and-death situation.
"If this were someone else's child, they would want their child to be treated to where their child's life was not in danger," Smith said. "We have to look at the severity of the risk involved, and when you're looking at the life and death of a child versus a taste preference, the analysis seems real simple to me."
Smith gave his son an injection of epinephrine that was kept at the school for such an emergency. It slowed the allergic reaction until an ambulance arrived to take Jack to the hospital.
Public schools here don't offer peanut products in their cafeteria meals, although students can bring them onto campus.
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