30 Aug 2017

Should Nuts be Banned on all Flights?


The ongoing debate regarding whether passengers should be allowed to eat nuts on a plane has taken the spotlight in recent weeks. The argument is receiving a huge amount of publicity after ITV’s This Morning aired a feature on Amy May Shead, a former member of the This Morning team who suffered a catastrophic anaphylactic shock as a result of eating nuts whilst abroad on holiday. After eating only a mouthful of a chicken dish, which she was assured was nut free, Amy suffered a severe reaction and went into a coma which left her severely brain damaged.

Passengers with nut allergies are highly vulnerable on planes, as they are so far from expert medical attention should a problem occur. Many have talked about the anxiety of travelling and the negative respones they receive from fellow passengers. Some airlines have also refused to allow some passengers to fly due to their nut allergy as they are considered to pose problems to other passengers onboard, should an emergency landing be required. Amy’s family are petitioning for the ban of nuts on all flights and have over 267,000 signatures already to take to Parliament.

Experts warn nut allergy sufferers to ensure they travel with an epi-pen, although like in Amy’s case, if a reaction is severe the pen may fail to work.  Moira Austin from Anaphylaxis Campaign told MailOnline Travel: ‘Each case is different, so patients should be advised by their treating doctor or allergy specialist.

‘Some patients may be at greater risk of developing symptoms in this situation than others, but the risk of a severe reaction is low.’

‘Any of a range of symptoms [can come on during a flight]. It may depend whether the contact was through the mouth, through physical contact or through inhaling aerosolised peanut protein.’

‘If a food allergen is eaten, it can cause rashes, itching and swelling of the mouth and tongue, sickness and diarrhoea or more severe symptoms such as breathing difficulties or a dangerous drop in blood pressure.‘

‘Physical contact with peanuts (through touch) is most likely to cause a rash and itching at the site of the contact, but some people may have a more generalised reaction.’

Some people have debated the call for a ban and have expressed a concern over why people travelling without nut allergies should miss out on a bag of the snack. Chiangmai1 commented on a related article on The Sun Online: ‘Sad they have a nut allergy, but not everyone has the same problem. Some have a fear of flying. If you are afraid of everything around you don’t go out. You cannot put pressure on an airline over a few people compared with the many. Ask the airline and maybe they can provide an oxygen mask for that person on the flight’.

The debate continues…..


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