Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - While baseball crowds stand and sing the lyrics "buy me some peanuts," more stadium sections will actually be peanut free this year.
Peanut allergies have inspired about half of all big league teams to host peanut-free games.
"Over the past four years there has been a tremendous rise in identification of peanut-allergic children," says Valerie Augello Carregal, an allergy and asthma specialist.
The number doubled between 1997 and 2002, she says.
This season's peanut-free ballparks will include the Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres, according to The Baltimore Sun.
It has already become an annual tradition at local stadiums.
This will be the sixth season the Nationals go peanut-free for a few home games, with the first date coming May 19 against the Orioles.
Below are the dates for the Nationals' peanut-free games:
- Sunday, May 19 vs. Baltimore
- Sunday, July 22 vs. Atlanta
- Saturday, Aug. 18 vs. New York (Mets)
- Sunday, Sept. 9 vs. Miami
For these games, suites are scrubbed down twice before fans arrive.
Catering staff don't provide the usual food service. Instead, fans take their own snacks based on their needs.
The Baltimore Orioles will also continue offering peanut-free dates:
- Tuesday, June 12 vs. Pittsburgh
- Friday, July 13 vs. Detroit
- Monday, Aug. 6 vs. Seattle
- Friday, Aug. 24 vs. Toronto
The Bowie Baysox's annual Food Allergy Day is Sunday, June 3.
Scrubbing sections of a ballpark favorite may confuse those who don't deal directly with food allergies.
Carregal explains just how extreme some reactions can be.
"Just inhaling the protein from someone in the vicinity can set off an anaphylactic reaction," she says. "This is few and far between, but it has been identified."
Others would have to ingest a portion to be affected, such as touching peanut debris on a chair before handling their own food.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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