A Patch to Deal With Peanut Allergies?

 patch for people who suffer from allergies associated with peanuts has reportedly been effective in extensive tests recently conducted throughout North America and Europe, which could potentially resolve the peanut allergy issue aboard airplanes in the future.

According to this article posted at Yahoo! Finance, “Viaskin Peanut is a patch worn by those afflicted and changed daily. The patch works by slowly releasing small amounts of peanut protein onto the skin. The immune system, which normally rejects the protein in higher doses with deadly consequences, slowly builds a tolerance eventually becoming desensitized to it completely.”

DBV Technologies — which is a French biopharmaceutical company — reportedly claims that Viaskin Peanut “was shown to be effective at reducing the effect of peanut allergies and allows participants to significantly increase the quantity of peanut protein they can consume.”

Despite the results of those tests and being granted “fast track status” by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, Viaskin Peanut may not become available to the public until at least the year 2018.

The topic of peanut allergies has been controversial and debated for years. There was even discussion back in 2010 of at least one airline was ordered to consider a “nut-free zone” aboard its fleet of airplanes.

People who are unfortunate enough to have severe allergies apparently suffer from adverse reactions. According to staff from the Mayo Clinic, nasal congestion and skin flushing are amongst the most common symptoms associated with an intolerance for alcohol caused by ingredients such as preservatives, chemicals, histamine or grains…

…but that addresses consumption. In a cursory search for cases pertaining to intolerance to alcohol, I found information on dimethylformamide — which can be used as a solvent and certainly not meant to be ingested — and something known as Asian Flush syndrome, which is caused by the consumption of alcoholic beverages and apparently not by inhalation; nor is it considered fatal in and of itself.

Based on this information, I see no reason for alcoholic beverages to not be served aboard an aircraft during a flight — but because I never partake in consuming alcoholic beverages, I will be the first to admit that I am no expert on this subject. As I asked in this article posted on March 15, 2013, if you are a doctor or a medical professional, I invite you to please enlighten me and readers of The Gate by posting a comment below with information as to when alcoholic beverages should not be served aboard an aircraft.

Peanut allergies are another matter, however. As an example — according to the Mayo Clinic — an allergic reaction may occur if you inhale dust or aerosols containing peanuts, such as that of peanut flour. Symptoms of the allergic reaction may include discomfort, such as swelling of the skin, runny nose, itching, shortness of breath or a tightening of the throat — or anaphylaxis could be a symptom which can cause a reaction that can threaten your life if your allergy to peanuts is severe enough.

However, Glenn — a reader of The Gatecommented back in August in response to this article regarding to the ongoing debate pertaining to nut allergies that “Going into anaphylactic shock because someone opened a bag of peanuts is medically impossible. The hysteria over this reminds me of the ‘immunizations cause autism’ stories that caused so much damage.”

As with my aforementioned disclaimer on my lack of knowledge with alcoholic beverages and allergic reactions potentially caused by them, if you are a doctor or a medical professional, I invite you to please enlighten me and readers of The Gate by posting a comment below as to the truth pertaining to allergic reactions allegedly caused by peanuts served aboard an aircraft.

In response to a proposed rule to ban peanuts being served aboard flights, the United States Department of Transportation reportedly acknowledged in 2010 that the ban would be a violation of a 2000 appropriations act and therefore could not move forward on a proposal that might have created new protections for airline passengers who suffer from peanut allergies…

…so for sufferers of peanut allergies, the prospect of a patch to prevent experiencing adverse reactions can be welcome news; and DBV Technologies is also reportedly working on a similar technology for people who suffer from allergies caused by dairy products. However, peanuts are legumes and not nuts; so what could this mean for those people who suffer from allergies caused by nuts?

Knowing that a solution to peanut allergies may not arrive for years, this list of tips offered by WebMD should give you some relief if you have allergies in general:

  • Pack all the medications you will need in your purse or carry-on bag — something you will have at hand in the car, in your train seat, or on the flight. Bring a day’s worth of extra doses just in case you’re delayed.
  • Keep medications in their original packaging to avoid running afoul of the Transportation Security Administration if you’re flying. You should be allowed to check all types of medication through the security checkpoint. If it’s in three-ounce or smaller quantities, you can put it in a clear quart-sized bag as you do with shampoo and perfume — but give the meds their own bag, separate from cosmetics and other liquids. If your liquid or gel medications are in larger quantities, put them in a separate bag and declare them separately to the screener.
  • If you use dust-proof, zippered pillow covers at home, pack one for the pillow at your destination. It takes up little to no space in your suitcase. If you’re really expecting to encounter some dust mite problems while away, you can even fold up and pack your mattress cover — but that will take up more space.
  • If you have food allergies, pack acceptable snacks in your carry-on bag so you won’t have to take a chance on airline food or the options available in train stations, rest stops and airports.
  • Check the pollen counts at your destination — you can do that here or at an Internet web site dedicated to weather, for example.
  • The air in planes is particularly dry, so be sure your carry-on includes saline nasal spray — and use it once an hour to keep nasal passages moist.
  • If you have mold allergies, ask for a sunny, dry room away from the pool.
  • Ask about the hotel’s pet policy. Hotels cannot bar service animals for the reasons listed here; but if you have dander allergies, you probably don’t want to be staying in a hotel that advertises itself as pet-friendly or offers cats to borrow for the night.
  • If you’ll be staying in a rental home, inquire about how thoroughly the location is cleaned between guests.


Unfortunately, there are not many easy solutions currently available — although the good news is that more and more companies in the travel industry are addressing the issue of customers with allergies.

I can hear you now wondering if DBV Technologies can work on patches for other controversial issues — such emotional support animals, babies and obesity; although patches for obesity are already available and have done little to resolve issues aboard airplanes…

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