I remember when I was in school, before my math class we would have to dispose of all peanut products before stepping into the room because a student had a peanut allergy. Even when all products were thrown in the garbage, if the food got in the air, it caused her to have a reaction and she needed to leave class immediately. For those people with a peanut allergy, it can seriously affect their everyday lives.
But good news has just arrived. New clinical guidelines have been issued to help prevent the development of a peanut allergy in children.
Why was there a change in the recommendations?
A new study involving more than 600 babies ages 4-11 months found that those infants who avoided peanut products had a higher rate of peanut allergy than those who ate peanut-products.
Babies and children (up to age 5) who regularly ate peanut products were less likely to develop a peanut allergy. Specifically, high risk infants (babies who had severe eczema or inflammation of the skin and/or an egg allergy) had an 81% reduction in the development of a peanut allergy.
What are the new guidelines?
- Infants who are at high risk of developing a peanut allergy and already have severe eczema, egg allergy or both, should have peanut-containing foods introduced into their diet as early as 4-6 months of age to reduce the risk of developing the allergy. But be sure to speak with your baby’s provider before beginning this process.
- Infants with mild to moderate eczema should have peanut-containing foods introduced into their diets around 6 months of age to reduce the risk of peanut allergy.
- Infants without eczema or any food allergy can have peanut-containing foods introduced into their diets at any time after solids have successfully been introduced.
Important: In all cases, your baby should start other solid foods before introducing peanut-containing foods. Never give whole peanuts or peanut pieces to children under the age of four. Be sure to speak with your baby’s health care provider before making any changes to your baby’s diet. For more information about peanut allergies, see this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics.