New studies have found giving infants peanuts often from a young age will reduce risk of life-threatening peanut allergies.
For years we’ve been told not to give peanuts to children for fear it may bring on development of an allergy but now the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has issued guidelines to encourage parents to feed their kids peanuts in order to prevent allergies.
Parents are now being told to expose young babies between 4 to 6 months old to peanuts through smoothed peanut butter or puréed food mixed with powdered nuts in order to prevent developing a life-threatening allergy.
Since 2000 when guidelines explicitly said not to feed peanuts to any child under 3 years old, the opinions of experts have slowly changed. In 2008, new guidelines were issued suggesting that feeding children peanuts earlier may not be so bad but failed to state when would be an appropriate age.
The new guidelines have done a 180 on the original opinion as experts now believe the younger a child is exposed to peanuts the less likely they are to develop the allergy.
“Infants without severe eczema or egg allergy are unlikely to have peanut allergy by 4-6 months, although they still have a risk for developing peanut allergy later, especially if they are not fed peanut in early infancy,” Dr. Robert Boyle, a researcher at Imperial College London who wasn’t involved in the guidelines.
The guidelines are based on trials conducted by leading experts in 2015 that showed children who had exposure to peanuts in early age and continued to do so until 5 years old, had an 81 percent decrease in the likelihood of developing a peanut allergy.
The new guidelines are currently being published across several journals including Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.