Ask the grumpies: Ethics of eating peanut butter at parks

Leah asks:

My kids (and I!) love eating peanut butter. We frequently pack it for park picnics and the like. I do clean my kids’ hands after eating and try to clean the table. What are your thoughts on the ethics of this given peanut allergies?

I mean, it’s probably not a big deal because people with peanut allergies that would be triggered by leftovers on a park bench are probably very careful.  (My kids have a cousin with a deadly peanut and less deadly but still dangerous tree nut allergy, but he’s not triggered by trace particles.)  But also… it is very easy to switch to almond butter or sunbutter (or, if the kids are really lucky, cookie butter) for school/outdoor things.  We still have peanut butter and other peanut products at home.

So… we haven’t intentionally packed peanut butter for outside or school stuff since DC1 was born, or maybe before that because when I was pregnant with DC1 they were recommending pregnant women avoid peanut butter (now they recommend the opposite).  The most frequent mistake both on our side and from teachers is stuff like snickers bars.  You just kind of forget they have peanuts.

There are tons of allergies out there that are dangerous for people and you can’t be careful about all of them.  You have to think about the cost-benefit calculations given what you know.  If you know there’s a kid with a deadly allergy, then obviously don’t bring that thing.  Peanut is one of the easier ones to decide on because it’s relatively common among deadly allergies and there are so many reasonable substitutes.  It’s like wearing a mask in public even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense– it’s easier for me to pop on a mask before going to a seminar than it is for me to try to figure out what the covid 19 prevalence is these days and make a “rational” decision based on that information.  Like, putting on a mask is not hard.  Getting a CO2 monitor and checking every room’s ventilation while they’re being used is harder.

Ode to our air filter

This post is from 2011 (hanging out in unfinished drafts)– Our Austin air filter is still going strong, though we’ve had to replace the actual filters several times.  Austin Air has no idea that we exist.  Also, 2011 was 10 years ago– there are a lot more good options for air filters than there used to be.  Here are wirecutter’s recommendations (their upgrade pick is only $300 and is a Blueair purifier, which they like better than the Austin filter because it is less expensive, prettier, and quieter).

I am allergic to almost everything that grows– grasses, most trees, and all the stuff that normal people are allergic to like ragweed and goldenrod and mold spores.  I’m also highly allergic to a lot of crawly things like dust-mites and *shudder* cockroaches and so on.  (Also mildly allergic to cats, though I’m more allergic to some cats than others.)  I can’t do much about the things that give me hives, but I can do something about the allergens that make my nose drip or that clog up my sinuses.

Back in 2011 I bought an Austin Air Filter for around $500.  There are now more options and they range from $750-$1000.  Not cheap!  The replacement filters are also not cheap– you could get a new Blueair purifier for about the same price these days.

For me, it was Worth Every Penny.  Having a good air filter on high in a room is better than most anti-histamines (though Zyrtec is still my new best friend).  It just clears everything up.

Here’s a post from Schlock Mercenary describing the experience of filtering out a room for the first time (back in 2007).  It’s what convinced me to get a super expensive air filter instead of the cheap small walmart/target ones we’d had before.

*heart emojis*

Do you have an air filter?  What kind do you use?  How much do allergies suck?  How do you deal with allergies? 

On the new era of Fragrance: A tiny rant

Several of the men in my department have started smelling increasingly floral.  Like there’s a miasma of chemical fragrance wafting like a cloud around them.  My nose starts to drip when they come near.

On the plane the woman in front of me sprayed a bunch of perfume on herself before getting off.  I dripped and sneezed and dripped.

DC2 had skin trouble with the handsoap we usually buy, so DH replaced our bathroom handsoap with liquid ivory, because he got ivory and dove mixed up (dove is dermatologist recommended– they’re both old brands with white bottles and similar packaging).  I stopped being able to go near his face for half a day after he shaved, or my nose would drip and my eyes would start to water.

Then the grocery store stopped carrying his unscented head and shoulders, and they increased the fragrance in the suave he used to buy before he started trying to attack his dandruff.

We spent quite a bit of time at the grocery store today sniffing various shampoos.  He did find a mint scented one that didn’t cause any allergic reaction for me, but in the end everyone decided that DC2 and DH and I would all use the unscented Burt’s Bees baby shampoo that I switched to a while back.   (I started having dandruff and scalp itchiness problems with regular shampoo and decided to buy a bunch of different expensive unscented baby shampoos from Target– Burt’s Bees has been great.  I won’t say it gives me much in the way of volume or body etc, but my scalp feels fine, I have little dandruff, and … I only need to wash my hair about once per week now, which is crazy.)

I was so happy during the last decade or so when scents were out.  The bath and body works era before then was hellish– if I got around too many people or the wrong people I would get a drippy nose and a headache.  I frequently ran out of tylenol allergy sinus.

But now it seems like fragrances are back in, and they’re in EVERYTHING.  Even products we’ve used for years have started upping their scent.

I hate it.

Thank goodness for Zyrtec.  But I will be happy when this fad goes away.

Feel free to commiserate, fellow allergy sufferers!