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Peanuts and Pregnancy

A recent headline in Newsweek magazine advised pregnant and breast-feeding women to avoid eating peanuts. The recommendation was based upon a British Medical Journal (August 31, 1996) article that reported that increasing numbers of children are developing allergies to peanuts. The report suggested that the children of mothers who eat peanuts may have become sensitized to them through their mothers' breast milk or while still in the womb.

This is particularly alarming in that peanuts are the food that most oftern leads to fatal reactions in those with allergies. However, experts say that expectant mothers who have no allergies can consume peanuts. Those mothers-to-be who suffer from allergies or allergy-related conditions, such as asthma, atopic eczema, or hay fever should not eat peanuts since their offspring are more likely to develop peanut allergies. In addition, allergy-prone women should not eat peanuts while pregnant or nursing.

Additional advice offers that children of allergy-prone parents should not be given peanuts or peanut butter until they are at least three years of age. Since the allergy is often shared by brothers and sisters, siblings of a young child who has already developed a peanut allergy should be tested. Although wheezing, hives, or vomiting are the most common reactions of children allergic to peanuts, some can go into shock and die. Once a child develops allergy it does not go away.

Is Some Sleep Better than None at All?

Getting a few hours of interrupted sleep may be harder on body and mind than getting no sleep at all for two days straight. Researchers looked at the results of 19 different studies that checked the effects of sleep loss through various mental and physical functioning tests. Findings indicate that if persons who have had adequate amounts of sleep averaged a score of "50" on the tests, persons who had gotten no sleep for two days scored an average of "10." Interestingly, those who had three of four hours of sleep averaged only a "2." Mood and mental clarity were the two aspects most hampered by lack of sleep, while physical ability was the least hampered.

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This page was last updated on: Saturday, February 1, 1997
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copyright 1997 by HealthCare Equity, Inc.