Question Sheet: Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts


Before reading:

  1. Name eight foods or other substances that can cause allergies. 
  2. What signs tell you that someone may be suffering an allergic reaction to pollen, a bee sting, or a certain food?

During reading:

  1. How many people in the United States have allergies that are considered serious? 
  2. Describe how your body creates an allergy. 
  3. What is the technical name given to a severe allergic reaction? 
  4. What are two possible causes of the increase in peanut allergies? 
  5. What should a person do if she is having an allergic reaction? What sort of medicine would help her?

After reading:

  1. Why do you think more and more people in the United States are developing allergies? 
  2. Develop a scale to help determine the severity of an allergic reaction. 
  3. Make a list of at least 10 different products that have peanuts or peanut oil in them, but where peanuts are not the main ingredient. (You can go to the grocery store for further research.) 
  4. How should a school prepare for students with severe allergies? 
  5. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires food products to carry labels that indicate whether trace amounts of peanuts may be present. Do you think thi

    sort of food labeling is important? About what other kinds of foods should the FDA issue warnings? 

  6. How would scientists go about creating a peanut that would be less likely to cause allergies? How would you test this new kind of peanut?


  1. Suppose you are a nutritionist planning healthy, balanced meals for a week for someone who is allergic to wheat (that includes bread, pasta, and cereal, but not rice). What would you put on the menu? 
  2. Write a short story that would help a young child who is allergic to peanuts remember not to eat them. 
  3. Find a copy of A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith, read the book, and write a review of it for children who are allergic to bee stings.


[A lesson plan to go along with the book can be found at (Beacon Learning Center).]


About 0.8 percent of all children in the United States are allergic to peanuts, and the number of children now affected by peanut allergies is close to 600,000. Based on these statistics, how many children are there in the United States?