Babies should be given peanuts early research suggests

Author: talkhealth

Date: JAN 2017

According to new research published in the US, babies should be given peanuts as early as 4 months old in order to reduce their risk of allergies. Researchers believe that early exposure may cut the risk of an allergy to peanuts by as much as 80%.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have issued new guidelines for parents in the US which says:

  • Children with other allergies or severe eczema should start on peanut-containing foods at between four and six months old, with medical supervision,
  • Babies with mild eczema should have peanut-containing food at about six months old,
  • Those with no eczema or allergies can have peanut-containing food freely introduced.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases believes this is a real step forward and said: "We expect that widespread implementation of these guidelines by healthcare providers will prevent the development of peanut allergy in many susceptible children and ultimately reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy in the United States."

Prof Alan Boobis, from Imperial College London, said: "The previous view that delaying the introduction of allergenic foods decreases the risk of food allergy is incorrect and... if anything, the exclusion or delayed introduction of specific allergenic foods may increase the risk of allergy to the same foods, including peanut."

However, advice for parents in the UK is still very much based around following NHS Guidelines at the current time. Michael Walker, a member of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, said: "The guidelines are based on sound medical research carried out in the UK. Parent in the UK should consult their GP, bringing attention to the guidelines if necessary, before attempting peanut allergy prevention in their infant themselves."

What this research offers is hope for children in the future.

Nut allergies are more common than you might think. In January 2015, talkhealth undertook research amongst the talkallergy community to understand more about the challenges of living with food allergies. One in 5 of people who completed the survey live with a nut allergy, with the most difficult part being eating out in restaurants or at friend’s houses, something many of us take for granted. You can read more about this particular talkhealth food allergy survey here.

talkhealth undertaking more research into food allergies with a new survey now open! Please do take part in the latest food allergy survey and tell us more about your specific food allergy and the challenges you face. There’s also a chance to win 1 of 100 talkhealth hand care packs too!

To coincide with the new survey, and throughout the month of February 2017, talkhealth is running an Online Clinic on Allergies. A panel of medical experts will be available during the whole of February to answer all your questions around allergies. The clinic is being supported by The Allergy Academy and charity Action Against Allergy, and sponsored by the Allergy and Free From Show.

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Last revised: 6th January 2017

Next review: 6th January 2020