Turning what was once conventional wisdom on its head, a new study suggests that many, if not most peanut allergies can be prevented by feeding young children food containing peanuts beginning in infancy, rather than avoiding such foods.
The prevalence of peanut allergies among children has been rising steadily for years, especially in the West. It’s also starting to appear in Africa and Asia. In the U.S., for example, the number has more than quadrupled since 2002, growing from 0.4% in 1997 to 1.4% in 2008 to more than 2% in 2010. For Americans, it’s now the leading cause of food-related anaphylaxis and death.
The basic chemistry of hair dyes has changed little over the last century, but what do we know about the risks of colouring our hair, and why do we do it?
Every two months Barclay Cunningham goes through a process that begins with taking an antihistamine tablet. After a few hours, she smears a thick layer of antihistamine cream across her forehead, around her ears and over her neck. Finally, she shields the area with ripped-up plastic carrier bags. All this so she can dye her hair.
It didn’t start out this bad. Cunningham coloured her hair for a decade without any problems. Then, one day, she noticed that the skin on her ears was inflamed after she’d dyed her hair. She fashioned plastic bag earmuffs and carried on colouring. But the allergic reaction persisted, so her precautions became more elaborate. Now if she dyes her hair without these measures, she gets an itchy, blistery, pus-filled rash that lasts for weeks.