Recent Research Changes Recommendations for Peanut Exposure

By: Tristan Dorn

Food allergies have been a growing area of concern among members of American society over the last few years. Nut allergies, specifically to peanuts, have been at the forefront of this discussion. There is often changing information about school policies surrounding peanut butter sandwiches, a growing market for peanut butter alternatives, and even backlash against companies that use peanut oil in their products. One of the most discussed topics among families, old and new, is whether or not to introduce children to peanuts. Questions of whether nut exposure causes allergies or age exposure affects the incidence of allergies, or if children should not be exposed to certain foods at all, is often an area of lasting debate.

A new study, “Learning Early About Peanut Allergy” or LEAP, is a clinical trial that delved into the questions of “Should young children eat peanuts or avoid them? Which is a better approach to preventing peanut allergy?” This study has made strides in this area and has even led to an addendum of the 2010 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States. This study and the resulting guidelines are a result of coordination between the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The results of the study, according to the LEAP website state that, “Of the children who avoided peanut, 17% developed peanut allergy by the age of 5 years. Remarkably, only 3% of the children who were randomized to eating the peanut snack developed allergy by age 5” (LEAP, 2017).

An article by CNN divides the recommendations into 3 easy to follow categories. First, children who are likely to develop a peanut allergy should be exposed to peanut-containing foods from 4-6 months or consult with an allergist for an allergy test. The second group concerns children with low likelihood to develop a peanut allergy or with a history of eczema. These children should be exposed to peanut- containing foods at 6 months. The last category of children is those who have no family history of peanut allergy and/or are at low risk of developing an allergy. These children can be given peanut-containing food at any age (Scutti, 2017).

Interestingly, this parallels customs of food exposure seen in other countries. Families in Israel expose their children to peanut products as early as possible, and the country has a very low rate of peanut allergies. It is important to note that while families are recommended to give children peanut based products, whole peanuts are a choking hazard.

These guidelines should help reduce the incidence of peanut allergies among the American population in future years. As a public health concern, the results from this study indicate a method of preventative care is effective in reducing the development of peanut allergies. Although studies pertaining to other common allergens have not been conducted on as large or as rigorous scale as the LEAP study, the conclusive results provided by LEAP indicate that the early exposure method may be the preferred technique of the future.

References:
http://www.leapstudy.co.uk/about-leap#.WG5fnhH2bbg
http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/05/health/peanuts-allergy-prevention-guidelines/index.html

First General Meeting

Today we learned about how public health initiatives can change a whole cities and Nations perspective regarding healthy weight. Here is a link to the Ted Talk!

Great meeting everyone and remember membership dues are next meeting!

First Spring General Meeting

Hello Comets!

We just had our first officer meeting, and we are so excited about what is in store for this semester! Our first general meeting is coming up. Next Monday (1/23) we will be meeting in FO 2.208 from 7:00-8:00PM. Don’t miss out!

Fast Facts – Exercise

By Tristan Dorn

Is your New Year’s resolution to get healthy and active? While your goal may be to hit the gym to burn calories, you can also use this time to release pent up emotions, including stress, anger, anxiety, or frustration. An article in CNN notes “higher-intensity exercise offering increased mood-enhancing benefits.” This has been backed by a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

 If the cold weather has you wanting to stay indoors, stick to your goals by going to the Activity Center on campus. The gym is open every day and boasts plenty of weights and cardio equipment. If you are looking for a regular commitment, consider signing up for Group X classes to exercise in a group with an instructor.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/25/health/sweat-out-stress/index.html

http://www.utdallas.edu/recsports/

Salmonella

Submitted and written by Tristan Dorn

Earlier in 2016, CNN news reported an outbreak of Salmonella cases linked to the sale of small turtles. 133 individuals in 26 states have fallen ill due to these reptiles, which have been traced back to farms in Louisiana (Goldschmidt, 2016).

What? Isn’t Salmonella usually linked to food poisoning or cross contamination? This is not always the case. A glance at the CDC’s website lists outbreaks related to a wide variety of sources. It includes illness due to produce, nuts, meats, dairy, pet geckos, bearded dragons, dog food, hedgehogs, live chickens, ducklings, and even hedgehogs in the past 5 years (Reports of Selected Salmonella…, 2016). This shows that the current small turtle Salmonella outbreak is not first outbreak in these reptiles, or even in the in the past decade. In fact, there was an outbreak of Salmonella among small turtles as recently as 2013 (Reports of Selected Salmonella…, 2016). The CDC report highlights that this affected 473 people from 41 states, DC, and Puerto Rico linked to the sale of turtles originating, again, from a source in Louisiana. This outbreak and the current outbreak should pique your interest considering that since 1975, the FDA has banned the sale and distribution of turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches in size as pets due to their high correlation with Salmonella cases (Eight Multistate Outbreaks…, 2013). However, it is important to note that all turtles, regardless of their size, can be carriers of Salmonella (Gunaratna, S, 2016).

So what is Salmonella, anyway? Salmonella is a bacterium that causes an infection called Salmonellosis. The CDC website states that “most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection” (Salmonella, 2016). While most people with symptoms recover well without treatment, young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are at risk of hospitalization due to the spread of the disease to other sites of the body. If not treated properly and in a timely manner, these people are even at risk of death (What is Salmonellosis?, 2015). Although this bacterium causes people to become sick, it does not cause any symptoms for its carriers. Therefore, a turtle could be unknowingly infected with the bacteria, putting owners at risk of becoming ill.

How does this relate to public health? Public health regards wellness and diseases related to populations. The goals of public health organizations are to prevent disease and promote good health. Salmonella outbreaks affect clusters of people in areas where infections are present. Salmonella is a contagious disease; therefore it can spread within a community. It can be spread by direct or indirect contact with contaminated persons or matter (Davis, C.P, 2015). According to the Central District Health Department in Idaho, an infected individual can be contagious and spread infection up to several weeks after initial infection, even if symptoms have resolved (Information on Salmonella). The best way to prevent the spread of Salmonella is to properly and thoroughly wash your hands often (Advice to Pet Owners, 2016).

What can I do to care for my turtle and reduce my risk of infection? The CDC website contains a page filled with advice to pet owners. The first point advises pet owners not to purchase small turtles for themselves or for others (Advice to Pet Owners, 2016). It also includes information about properly handling and cleaning turtles and turtle care equipment. For more information, please refer to http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/small-turtles-10-15/advice.html.

 

APA Citations:

Advice to Pet Owners. (2016, May 18). Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/small-turtles-10-15/advice.html

Davis, C.P. (2015, September 9). Is Salmonella Contagious?. Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.medicinenet.com/is_salmonella_contagious/article.htm

Eight Multistate Outbreaks of Human Salmonella Infections Linked to Small Turtles. (2013, October 18). Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/small-turtles-03-12/index.html

Goldschmidt, D. (2016, May 19). Salmonella outbreaks caused by turtles. Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/19/health/salmonella-turtles/index.html

Gunaratna, S. (2016, May 18). CDC sounds the alarm about salmonella risk from small turtles. . Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-salmonella-outbreak-risk-small-turtles/

Information on Salmonella (Salmonellosis). (n.d.). Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cdhd.idaho.gov/CD/public/factsheets/salmonella.htm

Reports of Selected Salmonella Outbreak Investigations. (2016, August 05). Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/outbreaks.html

Salmonella. (2016, August 05). Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/

What is Salmonellosis? (2015, March 09). Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/index.html