Things are a-changin’ in the world of peanut allergy precautions.
According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization, peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies and allergy to peanuts appears to be on the rise in children. Currently between 1-3% of children in westernized countries are thought to have peanut allergy.
Despite these trends, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently endorsed the Consensus Communication on Early Peanut Introduction and the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in High-risk Infants. The title is a mouthful, but the takeaway is clear:
- Early introduction of peanuts is safe and effective in infants at high risk of peanut allergy
- Health care providers should recommend introducing peanut-containing foods into the diets of high risk infants aged 4-11 months
Previous AAP recommendations were rather nebulous with regard to guidelines for the introduction of peanuts in both high or low risk peanut allergy infant groups.
The about face on early introduction of peanuts in high risk peanut allergy infant populations is based on research published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that the early introduction of peanuts significantly decreased the frequency of the development of peanut allergy among children at high risk for peanut allergy.
If you suspect your child is in the high risk group for peanut allergy, check with your primary healthcare provider about recommendations for the introduction of peanuts and peanut-containing ingredients.