"Should We Be Worried About a Peanut Allergy Epidemic?" - Kimberly Truong
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, peanut allergies are on the rise, more than tripling between 1997 and 2008. That’s made the often deadly allergy one of the most common food allergies out there, affecting an estimated 2.5 percent of children in the United States. There are a couple of theories for the rise in peanut allergies. Scott Sicherer, MD, director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, points to the “hygiene hypothesis,” or the idea that humans are a lot “cleaner” now than we were generations ago – fewer of us are living on farms and being exposed to livestock, we use antibacterial soap frequently, and our homes and streets aren’t littered with garbage and sewage. All of that makes for a better life, but that can come at the cost of our immune systems. “Our immune system was designed to fight germs – with fewer germs the immune system can get misdirected and attack innocent proteins, like food,” Dr. Sicherer said.
— Scott Sicherer, MD, Professor, Pediatrics, Allergy and Immunology, Chief, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai