Introducing peanuts to kids at a young age

Jan 08, 2017, 00:27
Introducing peanuts to kids at a young age

Whether the dietary change really will cut USA peanut allergies depends on how many parents heed the new advice, and the guidelines urge doctors to follow up, even offer lower-risk tots an in-office taste, to reassure them. However, a recent study has been conducted that could provide guidelines to be followed to be applied to the infants in order to prevent growing up with the peanut allergy. Yet the latest rules say that early exposure is good for the little kids.

"Living with peanut allergy requires constant vigilance".

"Peanut allergy can be fatal, is usually lifelong and has no cure".

Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, a member of the NIH-appointed advisory panel which wrote the new guidelines, said the change would hopefully be able to prevent a huge number of cases of peanut allergy among kids. "The irony is that the parents who are most afraid - those with a high-risk infant - should be introducing peanut earliest".

Babies at high risk of a peanut allergy - because they have a family history of peanut allergy, a severe form of the skin rash eczema or egg allergies - should have their first peanut taste in a doctor's office at 4 to 6 months old, Kocur and Kane advised. Those with a high-risk of developing a peanut allergy, according to the new guidelines, should have foods containing peanuts, introduced into their diets between 4 to 6 months of age. "If a child is tested and found to have peanut sensitization, meaning they have a positive allergy test to peanut, from that positive test alone we still don't know if they're truly allergic".

The exposure evidently helps children develop immunity to peanut allergens.

Having a peanut sensitivity doesn't mean an infant has a peanut allergy, the authors stress. However, the guidelines spell out that these infants should be evaluated by an allergy specialist before their parents or caregivers introduce them to peanuts.

Infants and small children should never be given whole peanuts due to the risk of choking, the NIH cautions. Revised recommendations in 2008 had suggested no food be delayed past four to six months but failed offer specific guidance on when to feed babies peanuts. They are the ones safest to feed with peanut-containing foods, based exclusively on family preference. Parents should consult with their child's pediatrician if they have any questions about how to proceed.

For years, health officials had urged parents to avoid exposing young children to peanuts, but now experts think that the opposite may be more beneficial, as it may make them less likely to develop peanut allergies.

The guidelines are being published simultaneously in several journals, including the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. It is indeed a simple process, however delicate it is and will definitely be a start of preventing the allergies from developing at infancy.

Building tolerance means that a peanut-containing food should be consumed about three times a week, the report said.

Nowak-Wegrzyn acknowledges that the new method may be anxiety-producing for anxious parents, but emphasizes that it will play a key role in prevention.

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