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The Peanut Allergy Answer Book
By Michael C. Young

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The Peanut Allergy Answer Book

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The Peanut Allergy Answer Book
By Michael C. Young, M.D.
Fair Winds Press, (2006)
Standard Print - ISBN: 1592332331
Genre: Health, Allergies

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - July 11, 2004

Food allergies affect millions of people worldwide, and there is no cure. The only 'treatment' available is complete avoidance of the food, or foods, that an individual is allergic to. Some foods are much easier to avoid than others. Some are much more difficult. One of the most insidious foods to try to avoid is peanuts. Some products such, as peanut butter, are items in which you would naturally expect fo find peanuts. However peanuts can also turn up in some very unexpected places such as medicines, milk chocolate, toothpaste, egg-rolls (peanut butter is sometimes used to glue the egg-rolls togther), and peanut butter is often used to thicken sauces and stews. Peanuts also turn up in some unexpected, non food items, such as kitty litter, axle grease, shaving cream, face creams, soap, cosmetics, shampoo, and detergents. These peanut containing products can cause reactions in individuals who have contact sensitivities to peanuts.

In addition to learning what items to avoid, learning to live with a peanut allergy also necessitates learning what to do 'just in case' there is an accidental ingestion. An allergic reaction to peanuts can produce a life-threatening reaction called Anaphylaxis. An excellent first step for anyone wishing to learn about peanut allergies and how to create a safe environment for yourself, or a family member with a peanut allergy, is to read Dr. Michael C. Young's book, The Peanut Allergy Answer Book.

Written in easy to understand prose, The Peanut Allergy Answer Book covers all the basics. Young explains what a food allergy is, how to determine if you have a food allergy, and the ins and outs of allergy testing. While he provides a brief overview of food allergies, in general, the main focus of this book is peanut allergies. He goes into depth explaining the history and possible causes of peanut allergies, and the possibility of someone with a peanut allergy also developing allergies to other legumes as well as tree nuts. Young also provides a concise and easy to understand overview of what, exactly, anaphylaxis is, the risk factors associated with an anaphylactic reaction, and how anaphylaxis is treated.

The remainder of the book is devoted to how to discern which products may have peanuts, or peanut products, in them. How to create a peanut safe diet, avoid products that may have been cross-contaminated with peanuts, and how to create peanut-safe home environment. The special concerns associated with creating a safe environment for children is discussed, including developing a medical action plan with your child's school, the emotional issues related to growing up with a peanut allergy, and those problems that are unique 'to the peanut-allergic adolescent'.

The Peanut Allergy Answer Book is a relatively short book, being only 113 pages. Yet, despite is small size, this book if chocked full of useful information. Young is a pediatric allergist and he is a member of the Harvard Medical School's faculty. This text is full of brief, real-life stories about living with peanut allergies. Information about ongoing medical research into peanut allergies is also included. Throughout, medical jargon is kept to a minimum, and a glossary is included at the end of the book that defines some of the less familiar terms that are used in the book. From beginning to end, Young uses plain, easy-to-understand language to explain the basics of peanut allergies. Written in a question and answer format, The Peanut Allergy Answer Book is an invaluable, authoritative, basic course on peanut allergies. The Peanut Allergy Answer Book is a must read for peanut allergy sufferers, as well as for the parents, teachers, and other caregivers of a peanut allergic child.

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