Peanut allergy study feeds peanuts

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 5:37 pm | Updated: 6:19 pm, Thu Jan 30, 2014.

Thousands of people in the U.S. visit the emergency room every year for symptoms of peanut allergies. And, more than 150 people die.

Now, a new British study, the largest of its kind, uses peanuts to build immunity.  It involved two groups of children who were fed small doses of peanut powder over time, with the hope of building resistance to peanut allergies.

Suncoast mom, Kristel San Juan's son Colin has food allergies. She said, "I think I gave it to him at thirteen, fourteen months just to try it and he had an immediate reaction around his eyes and mouth."

San Juan is also an M.D., she knew what to do and gave him appropriate medication, but, she's not taking any chances. "I've never really reintroduced it because I was afraid." She said.

The U.K. finds treating children's peanut allergy's by feeding them the very food their bodies reject may be the solution.

But here on the Suncoast, schools have their own method to protect kids.

Rebecca Lockwood, Preschool Director of Forty Carrots Family Center in Sarasota said they treat the allergy's on a case by case basis, but the whole facility is affected. "At this moment in time we are a peanut and tree nut free facility." She explained, "All of the snacks that families bring in, lunch boxes for children and employees, all of that does not contain peanut or tree nuts."

This safe guards those too young to recognize hidden dangers.

Nutrition Educator, Dan Washmuth of the Sarasota County School District, tells ABC 7. Once we received a signed doctor's note stating the child has a peanut allergy we provide parents and cafeteria staff personalized modified menu's indicating all foods containing peanuts, tree nuts, or seeds and of foods processed in facilities that also processes peanuts. Anything on the menu containing peanuts can be modified.

And over at forty carrots, the reaction for the most part to the facility wide ban on nuts is mostly favorable says Lockwood. This is how she approaches the few parents resistant to the ban. "Trying to get them to look at it from the perspective of a parent of a child with that allergy."

This peanut study was conducted with two groups of children, over five and a half years.

Only a few of the children had mild reactions and others were able to tolerate as many as five peanuts by the end of the study.

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