A few months ago, I was conducting several firearms training classes back to back. Typically my main diet consists of protein bars or peanut butter as a quick snack when I am between classes. On this particular day, I had eaten peanut butter between graham crackers for lunch before responding to another class. Following the course, we went to the gun range where students began handling firearms and shooting. Within a few minutes of being on the range, one of my students started to experience severe itching on his palms followed by hives.
As one who experiences severe allergies, it became apparent that this student had come into contact with a contagion which triggered these symptoms. Because the obvious was only contained to his hands, we started a process of elimination immediately. It only took 2 minutes to determine, only after questioning my student, that he had a peanut allergy. My oversight of not washing my hands after having eaten peanut butter had caused me to transfer the contagion to my student including the firearm in which he had also handled. Washing both of our hands, sanitizing the firearms, and my student taking a Benadryl in his possession resolved the situation. Fortunately, he was able to continue with us at the range without any further complications.
As a firearms instructor, we always encourage our students to wash their hands after handling firearms. It was on this day, that I discovered a very important lesson. Not only do we wash our hands after shooting, firearms instructors should also include washing their hands after handling any type of food before working with others. Many people suffer from peanut allergies and some can even experience severe reactions to the slightest amount of exposure. Fortunately, my student and I were lucky this day, and we are able to actually teach each other!