Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stupidity At It's Finest (or proof that sometimes you need good PR people)

So the president of the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, Sami Bahna,(not to be confused with a much finer scientific society, AAAAI) came out with a statement this week that has upset A LOT of people in the peanut allergy community.  With their annual meeting coming up, he definitely needed some material for a session.

You can read it here.

The gist of it is that he feels that bans in schools and on airlines are unnecessary. 

“Unfortunately, life is not risk-free,” said Dr. Bahna. “A minority of people are severely allergic to peanuts, but it is not reasonable or possible to expect schools or airlines to be peanut-free. Consideration should be also given to the freedom of the vast majority of non-allergic persons. Also, peanut is not the only food that can cause severe allergy.”
Here's my favorite quote from the release:
"Regarding the airlines, Dr. Bahna suggests that people and parents of children with severe peanut allergies check to be sure the airline carries emergency treatment and educates their personnel about food allergies."
I swear, I almost did a spit take.  Who is this bozo kidding?  What airline carries emergency treatment?  Just to be sure, I've emailed/IM'd a few airlines to see what they actually carry on board.

If you'd like a good laugh, read the part about how to keep kids safe at school.  He really is delusional and really knows nothing about how schools work, especially with overcrowding and budget cuts.

On one hand, I really do get what he's saying, but boy he could have spun this differently.  His PR rep should be shot (and you know I mean that figuratively not literally).

I've never really been one for school bans (although if my school turned around and said they would be peanut free I would be stoked), but when it comes to being locked in a plane for hours with no escape I sing a different tune.  If I'm over the Pacific, I'm feeling much better if there aren't any peanuts on board a flight we're on.  And I totally get it about other allergies - what about the other members of the top 8?  Or outside the top 8 like sesame or latex? Should those be banned from the skies too?  Where does it end?

There has to be a happy medium.  But a condescending press release isn't really the way to go about opening up a dialogue about it.

And he certainly didn't win any friends in the peanut allergy community.


ChupieandJ'smama said...

The guy is a jackhole. Serioulsy, was he drunk when he said these things? You know I'm not for bans either but he basically said "Too bad for you food allergy people. Go in a cave and wait for a cure".

Erna said...

I am a faithful reader of your blog. I am the mother of an almost 5 year old with severe food allergies. I am having trouble with her preschool teacher thinking I am completly CRAZY. She does not take all of her allergies seriously. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

den mother said...

To Erna- Sounds like the teachers and staff at your school need a power point allergies! There is a public health nurse out here where I live who will go to schools and give one for staff and other parents. Or maybe your school nurse would be up for it?
My sons school (he is 4) has had other allergic kids but didn't have to make any changes until my son showed up and we had a heart to heart about him actually having to have used his epi pen several times before :( They were so mortified that they may actually have to use the epi pen that their attitude changed very quick.

My response to parents and teachers who are more concerned about the non-allergic kids is this: "Well, I would hate to have the other kids see my son have an allergic episode, vomit, not breathe, and have the paramedics come. Especially if they were the child who touched him, handed him the cookie et. They would blame themselves (that is how kids are) and probably need therapy..."

When I put it that way and make it about their child and their childs mental health they really stop and think. I have really seen the violent attitude some parents have decrease when I make it about their kid not my kid and his SEVERE allergies!

Josie said...

I agree with the doctor because the 99% of the world that is not allergic to peanuts is not obligated to have to change their eating habits. You in the allergy community seem to feel very entitled. Why do 399 people in a school have to cater to 1or 2 people. If someone is allergic to milk, does that have to be banned. Next kids will only be allowed apples for lunch unless someone is allergic to that. What is wrong with a peanut free table?