The National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines regarding children at risk of developing peanut allergy. According to NIH, peanuts and other nuts can be introduced in small amounts in the diet of babies from 4 to 6 months. In the case of babies being at risk of peanut allergy, they can be slowly introduced to peanuts too.
Almost two percent of children in the U.S. are allergic to peanuts. NIH found that getting children accustomed to peanuts can reduce the risk of allergy to a large extent. Depending on the risk of allergy in a child, parents can start introducing peanuts in their children’s diet starting from 4 to 6 months.
Peanut allergy causes several difficulties, due to the fact that people allergic to nuts have to avoid a great amount of food or products which may contain allergens. Also, children might not be happy to develop a peanut allergy, since they will have to avoid America’s favorite snack, peanut butter sandwiches.
These new NIH guidelines differ completely from what doctors used to advise their patients. The introduction of allergens in the diet of a baby found at risk was forbidden before. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, declared that confronting the children with the allergen from an early age provided positive results.
Babies at risk need to follow a check-up process and they can have their first taste of peanuts in the presence of a doctor. The “treats” they are offered include a watered-down spoon of peanut butter or peanut-flavored puffy snacks that are easy to chew. Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, hopes they will be able to prevent peanut allergies in short time.
If you have a baby that is prone to develop peanut allergies, make sure to read NIH’s guidelines. Children should be able to consume solid food, make sure that they have tried it before including peanuts in their diet. According to the risk of the child, ask a doctor if it is okay for the peanuts to be introduced at home or the baby should have the first taste in a doctor’s office. Watch for any reactions after feeding the child the peanuts. In order to develop tolerance, the child should be fed peanut-based food on a regular basis, around three times a week.
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