The trials and triumphs of living with allergies

March 13, 2012

Chicago's mild winter has brought with it the early onset of springtime allergies. Blurred vision, sore throats and sneezes that could topple mountains are all making a forceful comeback, and it seems like everyone is affected.

Listen to this conversation on Eight Forty-Eight

That perception may be more accurate than you realize. Recent studies have shown that allergies are on the rise in most western countries, and it goes beyond the passing annoyance of noses rubbed raw. The CDC recently reported an 18% rise in severe food allergies between 1997-2007, and, following tragic, allergy-related deaths in Chicago and Virginia, families, businesses and schools are starting to take notice.

Throughout the country, public and private schools are instituting expansive policies concerning the treatment of students with allergies. Some are creating 'peanut-free' areas in classrooms and cafeterias, some are banning nut products all together. These new guidelines have struck some as overreactions, a violation of student rights by the school boards. To many, it's simply another indication that food allergies are a serious problem, one that's expanding at an alarming rate.

Tony will talk about both sides of the issue, as well as the science behind allergies, on Tuesday's Eight Forty-Eight. He'll be joined in-studio by Jenny Kales, an associate editor with Allergic Living magazine, who also runs the Nut-Free Mom blog; and local allergist Dr. Steve Handoyo. Call 312.923.9239 to join the conversation.