It's a sad state of affairs when adults must assume that kids can not eat certain foods, and it reflects the colossal failure of the medical community to figure out how to prevent allergies.
Dr. G. Daniel Brooks, an allergist at the Asthma and Allergy Center in Bellevue, said the implications of being able to reduce the number of people who have allergies are huge, particularly if the new guidelines can achieve the same reduction reported in the research on a broader basis. At the time, the peanut allergy rate was low, around 0.4 percent. This needs to be done with the consultation with a healthcare provider, and it may be necessary or prudent to have the infant go through an allergy test first, like a skin prick test or an oral food challenge, before the dietary introduction. So if you catch your four-month-old gumming a crumb from their older siblings' peanut butter cups and they're in this category, you can relax.
"Of course, we're extremely gratified that the result came out so definitively", Nepom said, adding that he's also pleased the data were used to support the new guidelines.
For years, American paediatricians advised avoiding peanuts until age three for children thought to be at risk, a recommendation that was dropped in 2008. Just because a child has a sibling or other relative with a peanut allergy does not mean he or she is at high risk, the NIAID and other groups said. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines recommending that parents avoid feeding all peanut products to children until age three, in order to avoid life-threatening reactions.
The number of children allergic to peanuts in the US has risen dramatically in recent decades, and new guidelines being released Thursday may help reduce a child's risk of developing a peanut allergy. One should never give a baby whole peanuts or peanut bits, experts say, because they can be a choking hazard.
Parents should begin feeding infants peanut products between four and six months of age, not waiting until 12 months, a practice that appears to be fuelling a rapid increase in peanut allergy in North America. Experts believed this would reduce the risk of them developing a peanut allergy, but now they believe it's the other way around. However, recent scientific research has demonstrated that introducing peanut-containing foods into the diet during infancy can prevent the development of peanut allergy.
In all cases, infants should start other solid foods before they are introduced to peanut-containing foods.
Furthermore, when the researchers checked on the children a year later, they discovered that those who hadn't developed allergies by age 5 were still peanut allergy-free at age 6.
New guidelines from federal health authorities are completely upending that wait-and-fear approach.
Allergy levels are soaring in the United States and have more than quadrupled since 2008. "Preventing the development of peanut allergy will improve and save lives and lower health care costs", said NIAID director Anthony Fauci. Those same kids are tested at age 5.
"There is a window where the immune system isn't going to recognize peanut as risky and that we believe happens very, very early", Greenhawt said.
"It was scary to have a reaction, but I feel more confident having had the experience", she said. "Without that kind of data and evidence-based practice, we have to say it's the logical next step, but we can not issue hard and fast guidelines for other allergies".