Allergy Article Hits a Nerve-We Need to Respond

Canadian magazine Chatelaine recently published an article by Patricia Pearson titled “It’s Just Nuts”.

(Link to article: http://en.chatelaine.com/english/weekend/article.jsp?content=20091001_150000_0023)

Ms. Pearson opens the article by stating that her son is a picky eater, will only eat peanut butter, and that-well-he can’t even eat that because of the school peanut ban.

The article continues with an obvious bias citing research that is one sided. This is not the surprising part. Ms. Pearson’s tone throughout the article is one of insensitivity, sarcasm, and a hint of almost downright hate. Also not surprising. What is surprising is that a magazine like Chatelaine would publish such a piece.

The allergic community is outraged. You can tell by the responses to the article and by message board discussions.

Allergic Living magazine is working on a response and hopes that if you feel disappointed about this article you will join them by adding your name to their letter.

You can private message Associate Editor Pam Lee-aaronsmomif you are a member of Allergic Living Magazine’s Forum or you can email [email protected]

You will need to include the following information:

Name
City/Town
State/Province
Email address

Following is the link to Allergic Living Magazine’s Forum and the letter that will be sent.

http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=4998

Letter To Chatelaine Magazine:

As parents and supporters of children diagnosed with serious food allergies, it was with shock and dismay that we read the article “It’s Just Nuts” in the December issue. Writer Patricia Pearson presented a slanted, narrow view of a health issue that touches our hearts and lives every single day.

In her selective reporting, Ms. Pearson has taken her personal criticisms too far. We are responding in this letter [for publication] to protect our children, and so that the general public can know the truth.

As parents, we are not hysterical or neurotic; we are not over-reacting. Contrary to Chatelaine’s article, the issue in schools is not peanuts, it’s anaphylaxis. That severe form of allergic reaction can develop with alarming speed following the ingestion of even trace amounts of an allergy trigger. The safeguards put in place to protect our kids in schools are based on directives from medical professionals, government ministries, allergy education associations and even parents whose children don’t have allergies. Principals, school nurses and parents work on an individual basis to ensure that students at risk, based on a history of severe reaction and medical testing, are accommodated appropriately. What’s fair to ask of the local community is always considered.

Our fear is that Ms. Pearson’s article plants seeds of doubt in the minds of those on whom we depend to help keep our kids safe. Slightly fewer than 2 per cent of kids have serious peanut allergies. Statistically that’s a huge increase from a generation ago; one of the highest incidence rates in the world. When you add the children who have other life-threatening food allergies, the rate rises to 6 per cent. That’s thousands and thousands of children at risk of a condition that can cause a traumatic and even fatal reaction.

Ms. Pearson seems to imply that 2 to 6 per cent of Canadian kids are not worth bothering about, not worth the trouble to keep safe. We strongly disagree. We are all of equal value in our great country.

Sincerely,

AllergicLiving.com Forum members

[Names to be added in a list]

And Supporters

[Names to be added]

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