Many of today’s grandparents never heard of peanut allergies when they were young, but the situation today is entirely different. Within the last 10 years, peanut allergies have doubled. In the U.S., peanuts are the number one cause of food allergy deaths. Many patients consult an Allergist in Evansville IN to learn more about dangerous food allergies.
Schools typically forbid any peanut products. Parents have had to become experts at reading food labels, looking for “hidden” peanuts. Epi pens have become a necessity for countless children and adults.
The Previous Recommendation
In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that any child believed to be at a high risk of peanut allergy should completely avoid any peanut product before the age of three. At-risk children were those with:
* Other food allergies
* A family history of peanut allergies
Avoiding peanuts didn’t help these children and ceased to be recommended in 2008.
An Important Discovery
Researchers in the U.K. discovered that children who began eating peanut products as babies developed fewer peanut allergies than children who were not permitted peanut products. The study included children who had a positive test result for a peanut allergy as infants. The study did not include children with a strongly positive test for peanut allergies, however.
At the age of five:
* 3% of the children who ate peanuts had developed a peanut allergy
* 17% of the children who didn’t eat peanuts had developed a peanut allergy
The Latest Guideline from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
The latest guidelines for pediatricians and parents divide infants into three groups.
* Babies with severe eczema needing prescriptions creams or an egg allergy should be tested early for a peanut allergy. They recommend introducing peanut products at four to six months, but very cautiously, perhaps at a doctor’s office.
* Babies with mild to moderate eczema don’t need testing and can try peanut products at six months.
* Babies without eczema or other food allergies can begin eating peanut products at the family’s discretion.
Of course, only use smooth peanut butter or snacks made with peanuts. Babies could choke on chunky peanut butter or whole peanuts.
C. Steven Smith, MD is a very experienced, board-certified Allergist in Evansville IN. Dr. Smith and his staff at the Accredited Asthma, Allergy & Food Intolerance Center have provided much-needed relief for many people suffering from allergies and asthma. Get more information at his website.