Why is the peanut allergy an epidemic that only seems to be found in Western cultures? Over four million people in the United States alone are affected by peanut allergies, while there are no reported cases in India, a country where peanuts are the primary ingredient in many baby food products. Where did this allergy come from, and does medicine play any kind of role in the phenomenon? After her own child had an anaphylactic reaction to peanut butter, historian Heather Fraser decided to discover the answers to these questions.
In The Peanut Allergy Epidemic, Fraser delves into the history of this allergy, trying to understand why it largely develops in children and studying its relationship with social, medical, political, and economic factors. In an international overview of the subject, she compares the epidemic in the United States to sixteen other geographical locations, finding that in addition to the United States, in countries such as Canada, the UK, Australia, and Sweden there is a one in fifty chance that a child, especially a male, will develop a peanut allergy. Fraser also highlights alternative medicines and explores issues of vaccine safety and other food allergies, making his book a must-read for every parent, teacher, and health professional.