AMUK Healthy Living Blog

Aug
03

Can Peanut Allergy Be Prevented?

Author : Hazel Econs

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies.  It affects one in fifty children and is the most common cause of fatal food allergy reactions. People with peanut allergy risk anaphylactic shock or even death if they become accidentally exposed to peanuts.  So for many parents introducing peanuts causes a lot of anxiety.

However, new research published earlier this year may provide an answer to preventing the development of peanut allergies in children.  Although paediatricians have, until now, told parents not to introduce peanuts to children at high risk of allergy, this study’s findings have shed new light on this subject.

The findings suggest that introducing peanuts earlier in a child’s life, between 4 and 11 months, in babies at high risk of developing an allergy, actually helps prevent it.   This clinical trail provides excellent evidence to support the early introduction of peanuts.  Dr Econs comments "peanut allergy is rare in Israel where nuts are a common weaning food".

However, before giving a child peanuts, it is essential to make sure that they are ready and able to eat solid food.  They must be at least 4 months old.  Never give whole peanuts until over 4 years old, due to risk of choking.   Get a pure peanut butter, preferably containing nothing else and try introducing.  

As this is a big step for many parents, before introducing potential allergenic foods, it would be best to discuss it first with an allergy specialist.

 

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