Fighting the Peanut Allergy

You may have noticed more and more children are being diagnosed with a peanut allergy. In fact, in the past decade allergies to peanuts have doubled. For years scientists have been working hard to find out how to explain the increasing rates of food allergies. In the past, pediatricians have cautioned parents not to feed their babies peanut products until they’ve reached three years of age because they feared their immune systems could not handle an allergic reaction. However, new information from the American Academy of Pediatrics recently stated introducing peanuts to your child sooner may be the key to crushing this allergy.

According to the article “Is It Really Safe to Give Babies Peanut Butter?” by Adrienne Lafrance, featured in The Atlantic: Health online magazine, researchers are now saying they may have made a mistake. Scott Sicherer, a pediatrician and researcher at the Jaffe Food Allergry Institute at Mount Sinai, was part of a team of doctors formed in 2008, who believed parents didn’t need to wait to introduce peanut products to their otherwise, healthy babies. Sicherer and the rest of the team came together because they challenged the fact that there was no significant evidence supporting the idea that children who waited until an appropriate age to try peanut products, would not obtain the allergy. In fact, they argue not giving your child these type of products earlier on may be the problem all together.

In their study, Sicherer and the other doctors tested more than 500 infants who were at high risk for peanut allergies. At random, they picked who would consume the peanut products and who wouldn’t. When the children reached the age of five, both groups were tested to see how their bodies reacted, and Sicherer and his team found an astonishing discovery. Those who had peanut products in their daily diet beginning at an earlier age were far less likely to react compared to those who didn’t.

Does this mean it’s safe to give our babies small amounts peanut products right away? Further in Lafrance’s interview with Scott Sicherer, he goes on to say that every baby is different and many factors play into what is appropriate for each child. The American Academy of Pediatrics is not promoting feeding your infants peanut butter, but to discuss the possibility with your pediatrician because they know you and your child the best.

 

 

Reference

Lafrance, Adrienne. “Is It Really Safe to Give Babies Peanut Butter?” The Atlantic: Health. Feb. 2015. The Atlantic. Aug. 2015.