Each year Over 7 million Americans are diagnosed with food allergies, 3 million of which are children. Food allergies can be life threatening, and there is no cure. On average there are over 30,000 emergency room visits each year due to allergic reactions, over 200 deaths, and 94% of the food related deaths, are due to a reaction from a peanut or tree nut. (Almond, walnut, cashew, pecan, Brazilian nut etc.)
If a person comes into contact with his/her allergen by touch, ingestion or inhaulation their body can go into anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic can kill. When a person is having an anaphylactic reaction, they may experience, a sever rash, hives, vomiting, swollen face, and most importantly their throat can swell up, cutting off all oxygen supply; That individual could suffocate during the reaction, and more than likely die.
While most parents teach their allergic children to always read ingredients, and to only eat food that was packed from home, it is still not enough to keep their child safe, the same goes for adults and teens. Many allergens can be hidden, manufactures can make mistakes on their labeling, and one of the biggiest problems is the unseen allergen. If some one was eating something that your allergic to (ie. peanut butter and jelly sandwich) and then touches a book, door Handel, keyboard ect, then you touch it, you can go into anaphylactic shock.
Researchers are still trying to figure out why the peanut allergy is on the rise, especially with young children. It is believed that novel proteins, chemicals, and allergens have been introduced to our food and vaccine supply within the last 10 years. It is believed that the chemicals are creating a toxin overload, impacting the immune system of the new generation of children.
There is some medical research being done to try to find a cure for individuals with life threatening food allergies(s). It is still years away, due to lack of funding and knowledge.
Angel Service Dogs is an organization which trains specialized allergen detection dogs, to keep children safe and out of harm, so that a child can live a NORMAL life. http://www.angelservicedogs.com/
If you would like to learn more about food allergies please visit http://www.foodallergy.org/.
Another thing worth mentioning is, if your child has a life threatening food allergy(s) he/she falls under the American Disability Act (ADA). You can learn more about the California laws for nut allergies at http://www.peanutallergy.com/ under awareness and advocacy.