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How can the risk of peanut allergy in children be reduced?
How can parents protect their children when they are at increased risk of peanut allergy? Researchers have now found that the likelihood of developing the disease can be significantly reduced if those affected already eat peanuts as infants.
The University of Ottawa's recent study found that consuming peanut butter in infants contributed to a greatly reduced risk of peanut allergy at age five. The results of the study were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (cmaj).
Participating children were at increased risk of peanut allergy
The infants participating in the study were at increased risk of peanut allergy, as they already had an allergy to eggs or eczema, the researchers explain. It turned out that consuming just two grams of peanut butter three times a week reduced the likelihood of peanut allergy by more than 80 percent by the age of five compared to children who had completely avoided contact with peanuts.
Eczema or allergy to eggs indicated a risk of peanut allergy
Babies without or with only mild eczema have a low risk of peanut allergy and can therefore be easily introduced to peanut consumption at home, the authors of the study report. However, infants with severe eczema, an existing allergy to eggs or both problems should first be examined by a specialist.
Traces of peanuts in food are common
For affected children and their families, the results of protection against a peanut allergy are extremely important, since they can be achieved through the relatively simple intervention of eating peanuts, the researchers explain. A peanut allergy is so problematic for those affected because traces of peanuts are found in many products. Peanuts are often used as ingredients in food, and they may also get into food through shared production facilities, which should actually be free of peanuts.
Get advice from your family doctor
Of course, not all parents should now feed their babies directly with peanut butter. If you suspect an increased risk of a peanut allergy, a discussion with the family doctor is definitely appropriate. If food allergies or eczema have occurred in infants or immediate family members in the past, parents should seek medical advice before giving their child peanuts. (as)
More interesting articles on this topic can be found here:
- Breakthrough: Scientists successfully treat peanut allergy in young children
- New test can reliably diagnose peanut allergy
- Genetic causes of food allergies in children
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Amitha Kalaichandran, Tom Marrs, George du Toit: Early introduction of infant-safe peanut protein to reduce the risk of peanut allergy, in Canadian Medical Association Journal (query: 22.07.2019), cmaj