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(io9)   The bad news: You have a peanut allergy. The good news: ...because your parents are wealthy   (io9.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, peanut allergy, peanut, socioeconomic status, academic conference, hygiene hypothesis, ethnic minorities  
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15463 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Nov 2012 at 8:40 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2012-11-09 09:04:29 PM  
3 votes:

Heamer: CSB:

I dated a German girl a couple years back who was in the states working as an au pair. Through some serious networking prowess (and a bit of luck), she managed to work for a handful of very wealthy families off and on over the course of about a year and a half (yes, I realize that it's mostly rich folks who can afford an au pair, but bear with me). She began to notice that the wealthier families tended to be more hygiene-obsessed (one woman in Chicago requiring her kids to wash/sanitize their hands upwards of 7-8 times a day), and that their kids had more allergies, to a wider array of ordinarily innocuous things.

This is just an anecdote; feel free to draw your own conclusions.


Not surprised at all. Lack of exposure to whatever crap around is a major factor in developing allergies. Allergies are caused by an overactive and stupid immune system- if your immune system develops properly, they're generally rare. Hyper sanitize your house, and you're encouraging it. And the hypersanitized crap does seem to appeal to the upper middle class more than anyone else.

As a kid, I licked the cat, ate food off counters, played in dirt, climbed trees, scraped my knee, ate peanut butter with my fingers straight out of the jar, and did everything kids used to do until not all that long ago. My dad, a pediatrician, encouraged all this. Guess what? I grew up with a bulletproof immune system. I have no allergies, not even to poison ivy (I think I just got lucky on that one though). In a stunning revelation, it seems that immune systems that have evolved to deal with dirt, feces, rotting food, and all manner of other shiat work, and do best when they have enough exposure that they recognize exactly what they're supposed to fight against.
2012-11-09 08:52:24 PM  
3 votes:
2012-11-09 10:03:46 PM  
2 votes:
There is also a link between the number of toilets in the house and kids with colon and intestinal problems. It seems that kids who have their own toilets are not exposed to the germs left by other folks and as a result do not develop the natural immunities acquired in families where everybody shares one or two potties.

Sorry for the mental image but SCIENCE!
2012-11-09 09:38:02 PM  
2 votes:

SuddenlySamhain: will such allergies grow to be status symbols?


Oh, but they ARE. I've seen instances where, in my totally unscientific opinion, the various dietary and lifestyle restrictions forced on a child by their parents border on a competitive sport, if not outright Munchausen's by Proxy.
2012-11-09 09:22:59 PM  
2 votes:
No, I'd say that GENUINE allergies--i.e. those which cause anaphylactic reactions--probably cut across the spectrum of rich, poor, black, white, up, down, etc.

What wealthy people have is the time and energy to run to the doctor every time Johnny or Susie sneezes, plus the wherewithal to find a doctor who will agree with them that it HAS to be the peanut butter. Poorer people either disregard the occasional sneeze, or else stop giving the kids peanut butter if it seems to be a real but minor problem.

I could be wrong, of course.
2012-11-09 09:01:58 PM  
2 votes:
Bullshiat!

/from personal experience.
2012-11-09 08:51:41 PM  
2 votes:
Rich people problems
2012-11-09 08:43:34 PM  
2 votes:
The two other pinheads in my department are both allergic to peanuts and had fairly upper middle class backgrounds. I'm allergic to nothing and grew up pretty poor. Anecdotal that.

I eat peanuts at my desk when I want to be left alone to get work done.
2012-11-11 10:58:46 PM  
1 vote:

Babwa Wawa: Let me tell you how this works:

Your 2 year old has a rash lasting 36 hours after eating a peanut butter cracker....


No.

Peanut allergy is anaphylactic. You don't get skin rashes from anaphylactic reactions. All of the soft tissue in your body swells within seconds. Lips, eye lids, nostrils, throat, tongue, lungs, etc. You go from "hey this taste good" to "Can't see or breath" in seconds.

And yes, I do take it personally when idiots who don't know anything about anaphylactic allergies try to downplay it. Spending two week-long tours in the ICU because of it will do that to a person.
2012-11-11 11:56:39 AM  
1 vote:

Foxxinnia: If someone was so allergic to something that they'd go into shock just from a wisp of it in the air they'd be straight-up dead by the time they were six. Little Ayden would be suffocating on his own spit because there was a churro stall two block away. All this crap accomplishes is ruining snack time for grade schoolers.


I never had a reaction until I was 44 years old. Then one day while eating a meal at my favorite neighborhood Malaysian restaurant, my lips started to burn. A few seconds later I couldn't breath or see due to the swelling of my face and throat. Next thing I know someone stabbed something on my leg and although it opened up my breathing a bit, it felt like I was going to have a heart attack from all of the adrenaline. Made it to the ER where they immediately inserted tubes up my nose all the way down into my lungs, attached me to a bunch of machines, and I remained like that for 4 days until the swelling started to retreat.

Forward about 1 year. Had stopped eating Asian food other than sushi, and was really careful with what I ate. One day picked up some Mexican food on my way home, and after a couple of bites same thing started to happen. At least this time I knew what an Epipen was, had my own handy, and was ready for the burst of adrenaline. Another week in the hospital after that. While I was in the hospital, my girlfriend went to the Mexican restaurant and asked if they used peanuts in any of their dishes. They didn't, but it turns out one of the guys in the kitchen likes to eat peanuts as snacks while he works.

So yes, my personal experience quite contradicts your baseless theory.

ps: To this day I don't know who it was in the Malaysian restaurant that had an Epipen handy and knew how to use it. Whoever it was I own them my life.
2012-11-10 01:09:52 PM  
1 vote:
I'm an immigrant from a middle-class Brazilian family. Worked as a bicycle mechanic to pay for my college education at a state college. Live a comfortable yet far from luxurious life. Never had any allergies until my 40's. Developed hay-fever in my early 40's, and nearly died twice due to peanut allergy in my mid 40's. After spending two tours in the ICU with tubes down my throat and machines breathing for me, I started to take the issue of peanut allergy a bit more seriously. And if I were a parent of a PA child, I sure as hell would do everything in my power to make sure my kid didn't go through the same thing.
2012-11-10 04:22:03 AM  
1 vote:
Might be true:

My daughter goes to a pretty hoity toity Montessori school in the DC area when we are in the USA. There is a board there that lists all of the kids special needs and allergies etc. For one of the kids it has the note" "Has never had nuts".

Seriously.
2012-11-10 12:40:50 AM  
1 vote:
Autism... some autoimmune diseases... caused by... ? No, I'm not talking about thimerosal. Of course now the herd immunity freaks will come out in droves to castigate me for being an ignorant scare-monger, if I'm not already being ignored by them. But doesn't it just make sense that something designed to increase immune system activity might actually increase immune system activity (in undesired ways)? I'm not suggesting we eliminate all vaccinations, but we could at least have state legislatures use a little restraint when they are approached by the extremely optimistic pharmaceutical lobbyists.

Not to mention the little known fact that refined peanut oil is used as an adjuvant in most vaccines. An ingredient which btw, manufacturers are not required to list. So at the moment you fire up an infants immune response you also inject peanut oil. Nice.
2012-11-09 11:55:33 PM  
1 vote:
Mesmer242

I don't have a study I can cite. It was mentioned by a gastroenterologist on a documentary program I watched once about intestinal diseases. He said that there seemed to be a link between the number of toilets in the house and childhood bowel diseases. The studies in that direction were concluding that families that shiat in the same toilet tend to build up and share immunities. Sorry that i can't give you a precise study however.
2012-11-09 11:25:13 PM  
1 vote:
Feel that common allergies are sort of like how I'm "allergic" to penicillin. Maybe I'm not, but my idiot physician prescribed it when I had Mono. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not, but the allergic reaction involved anaphylaxis and a week long rash from head to toe.

Like them, maybe they're allergic and maybe it was a one-time reaction, but not something you really want to risk.
2012-11-09 11:16:30 PM  
1 vote:
My own theory is that it isn't the exterior hygine (hand washing, bathing, etc) that has been contributing to the increase in such allerges, but the dietary avoidence. All these upper class families have all been reading a ton of 'help' books (based on flimy data) which say you need to avoid certain foods while pregnant/breastfeeding/infany, or the child will devlop allergies.

That is not how immunology works. The body learns to tolerate antigens it sees regulalry, and will become reactive to rare antigens.

Lower class people do not have enough money to be picky about food. They eat whatever they can afford.

Also, rich people do tend to overreact when their kids get sick (they have the time and money to do so). Kid eats a PB&J, then gets a rash, the kid must have a crippling peanut allergy, and avoids it the rest of his/her life (which likely helps sensitize him/her to peanuts). Lots of infants/toddlers get transient rashes that aren't actually allergic.

Again, lower class people don't have the money and time to waste overreacting. If the kid gets a rash, but it goes away and doesn't reoccur, it is never thought of again.

/I don't want to deride people with real peanut allergies. They can be very serious. But get yourself tested by an immunologist before you ban all nuts from your life. The results may surprise you.
2012-11-09 10:33:39 PM  
1 vote:

Heamer: CSB:

I dated a German girl a couple years back who was in the states working as an au pair. Through some serious networking prowess (and a bit of luck), she managed to work for a handful of very wealthy families off and on over the course of about a year and a half (yes, I realize that it's mostly rich folks who can afford an au pair, but bear with me). She began to notice that the wealthier families tended to be more hygiene-obsessed (one woman in Chicago requiring her kids to wash/sanitize their hands upwards of 7-8 times a day), and that their kids had more allergies, to a wider array of ordinarily innocuous things.

This is just an anecdote; feel free to draw your own conclusions.


Actually, if you work long hours, an au pair turns out to be cheaper than day care plus a nanny, which you'd need because day cares aren't open very long.

\I have family members in residency, which means shiatty hours and not yet commensurately awesome pay.
2012-11-09 10:05:10 PM  
1 vote:
Oh and as an addendum to the above rant my stepson has several severe food (nut, but not peanut which is a little weird amongst a few other obscurities like garlic) and bee allergies which can also kill him, however, he has wit enough to read labels or ask when I'm cooking something new and wash his hands and know where his EpiPen is at all times. He's 13. No one in my house has died just yet. If we're at the park or in the mountains we take the EpiPen and the inhaler, but certainly don't wrap him in bubble wrap. Go play in the mud, whatever kid, get stung, we will stick you with the EpiPen to save your carcass.

/rant off
2012-11-09 09:07:50 PM  
1 vote:
I'm deathly allergic to cats and mildly allergic to dogs and I had both as a child. Exposure did not work for my pathetic immune system.
2012-11-09 09:04:36 PM  
1 vote:
Well that wealth comes in handy when it comes time to sue a school district to make it a peanut free zone. Ya know, rather than send your snowflake to a private peanut free zone.
2012-11-09 08:59:52 PM  
1 vote:
i45.tinypic.com
2012-11-09 08:56:47 PM  
1 vote:
Yes! Someone finally believes me. I used to teach English as a Second language in the elementary grades and in high-poverty schools, no one worried about peanuts because regardless of ethnicity, poor kids were simply not allergic to peanut products. Never, ever. The vast majority of my students were from Mexico or Central America, but there was no obvious genetic factor in play - poor black and white kids were not allergic either. It's unlikely it would have been missed considering the severity of the allergies apparently present in children of more affluent families.
2012-11-09 08:54:11 PM  
1 vote:
"Interestingly, the development of the allergy in people older than nine isn't linked to wealth at all."

Wonder why. Did the excessive hygiene stuff begin less than ten years ago?
 
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