Out of all allergenic foods, there is none more infamous than peanuts. New studies and guidelines recommend parents introduce the food to their infants early in their development so that they can decrease the risk of developing peanut allergy in the future.
A number of studies in recent times have revealed the increased benefits of exposing young children to various allergenic foods in their first year of life in order to reduce their risk of developing them. However, no specific guidelines were issued based on this evidence. Only by 2017 parent will have a full set of specific steps they can follow to lower the risk of peanut allergy for their children. The guidelines will take into consideration various conditions of infants so that they can be applied to a larger number of children.
Doctors from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology have released a short preview of the guidelines. The timing as well the as method of introducing peanuts to infants depends on the child’s risk of developing the allergy. The guidelines are based on research showing a significantly reduced risk of allergies if the kids experience the food during their 4-6 months of life.
Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, a pediatrician and a co-director of the Food Challenge and Research Unit from the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, sees the guidelines as an amazing opportunity to help children prevent a lifelong condition. However, avoiding peanut allergy in young children and reducing the number of conditions in the country will require the cooperation of parents as well as healthcare providers.
The preview of the guidelines includes three different approaches to the introduction of peanuts in kids’ diets. Parents should first take notice of the severity of eczema, which is a symptom of peanut allergy. In severe cases, kids should be exposed to peanuts in very low amounts since their fourth month of life. Infants with mild or no cases of eczema can begin from the age of six months.
Doctors recommend avoiding full peanuts as they are a choking hazard. Instead, they should use creamy peanut butter softened by adding warm water, serving corn puffs with low amounts of peanut residue. Adding peanut butter to various type of fruit purees is also a good way to begin.
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