To Prevent Peanut Allergies, Expose Children Early

Much to the bewilderment of medical professionals, peanut allergies in the United States have quadrupled since 1997, now affecting 2% of the population. Today, some 400,000 school-aged children suffer from this leading food allergy, which can be fatal. A new, notable study from the New England Journal of Medicine, however, concluded that exposing infants between 4 months and 11 months with risk factors for a peanut allergy resulted in a lower incidence of developing a peanut allergy by age 5. This comes after a lengthy period of time in which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents avoid giving their infants peanut products until after their first birthday.

The study, published in February 2015, involved more than 600 infants who were assigned to either avoid peanuts or consume small doses of peanut-based products. For every 100 children that avoided peanuts, 14 were diagnosed with an allergy by age 5. For every 100 children that were given peanut-based products, just two developed an allergy.

Why is this study so important? Not only is it the first to look at how to prevent peanut allergies, rather than simply desensitize children, the results could mean that all international guidelines on introducing this particular allergen to children would potentially need to be revised. To read the full text of the study, visit http://tinyurl.com/2015peanutallergy.

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