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Last Updated On: 4/5/2013

Peanut allergy triggers an overreaction of the immune system in victims and is extremely distressing to experience.

Brought about by substances found in peanuts, the allergy can cause vomiting, diarrhea, urticaria (hives), angioedema (swelling of the lips, face, throat and skin), acute abdominal pain, exacerbation of atopic eczema, asthma, anaphylactic shock and, on occasion, even death.

Peanut Allergy on Flights

But to experience peanut allergy at 35,000 feet can only be described as bad Karma.

Unfortunately, most airlines continue to serve peanuts and tree nuts or snacks and meals with peanuts or tree nut.

A new study led by researchers from the University of Michigan has found in-flight peanut and tree nut allergy is not restricted to America but is an international problem.

The study also found that epinephrine, a common and effective treatment, was drastically underused in-flight.

It seems only 13.3% of passengers reporting an allergic reaction received epinephrine as treatment.

Despair not, folks.

All is not lost for travelers with peanut allergy if they follow the advice of experts.

Important Steps

The researchers identified a set of behaviors that can reduce anxiety and chances of allergic reactions for travelers.

They said passengers who engaged in eight mitigating factors were less likely to report an allergic reaction.

Passengers with peanut/tree nut allergies taking the following actions reported lower odds of reporting a reaction:

* Requesting any accommodation

* Requesting a peanut/tree nut-free meal

* Wiping their tray table with a commercial wipe

* Avoiding use of airline pillows

* Avoiding use of airline blankets

* Requesting a peanut/tree nut-free buffer zone

* Requesting other passengers not consume peanut/tree nut-containing products

* Not consuming airline-provided food