Giving Babies Peanut Butter Could Actually Prevent Peanut Allergies

Though deaths are extremely rare, children who develop a peanut allergy generally do not outgrow it and must be vigilant to avoid peanuts for the rest of their lives.

The National Institue of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has set a road map for parents in three categories.

The guidelines put babies into three groups: babies with no known allergies, babies with mild to moderate eczema and babies with severe eczema or an already established egg allergy.

In all cases, infants should start other solid foods before they are introduced to peanut foods. Instead, the guidelines include options like watered-down peanut butter or easy-to-gum peanut-flavored "puff" snacks.

Aspen said the new guidelines wouldn't have helped Christine.

One report, published in 2008, was carried out by scientists intrigued by anecdotal reports that Jewish children in Israel rarely had peanut allergies.

Indeed, peanut allergy is a growing problem, now estimated to affect 2 percent of USA children. People living with peanut allergy, and their caregivers, must be vigilant about the foods they eat and the environments they enter to avoid allergic reactions, which can be severe and even life-threatening.

New guidelines have been released for parents concerned about peanut allergies in their kids. For these kids, experts say nutty foods should be introduced around six months.

New Allergy Guidance: Most Kids Should Try Peanuts
New Guidelines Aim to Reduce Peanut Allergies in Children

No, babies don't get whole peanuts or a big glob of peanut butter - those are choking hazards.

While these guidelines can not help the many children who are already allergic to peanuts and must live with the allergy for the rest of their lives, they will likely reduce the number of future allergies, improving quality of life for subsequent generations.

The guidelines are based on several recent studies showing that early exposure reduces the risk of developing peanut allergies.

Over the past few decades, peanut allergies have been dramatically increasing.

The Addendum Guidelines appear January 5 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and will be co-published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology; Journal of Pediatric Nursing; Pediatric Dermatology; World Allergy Organization Journal; and Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology.

Allergy levels are soaring in the U.S. and have more than quadrupled since 2008.

"That's why the first feeding of peanut-containing food needs to be under close supervision, because there's just some random kids who get peanut allergies for no real reason that we know of", she points out. They should start peanut-based foods around 6 months, at home. Poole said she has recommended dabbing a bit of peanut butter on a baby's lip, allowing him or her to taste it and then offering more in small amounts. The infants should first see a board-certified allergist for peanut allergy testing, which will determine if peanut can be safely introduced, and if this needs to first be done in a specialist's office. "I think that it's a risk", she said. They advocate getting 6 to 8 grams of protein a week to help prevent the peanut allergy. By age 5, only 2 percent of peanut eaters - and 11 percent of those at highest risk - had become allergic.

"The prevalence of peanut allergy has doubled over the past 10 years in the USA and other countries that advocate avoidance of peanuts during pregnancy, lactation, and infancy", according to the LEAP study.

  • Santos West