For almost two decade allergists battled the peanut allergy endemic to the U.S. At first, experts believed that preventing a child from coming into contact with peanuts or products derived from peanuts will ward off allergies in their future development. Since no significant change for the better has been recorded, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has come up with a different strategy. Instead of keeping the youngsters as far away from peanuts as possible, scientists recommend parents to start feeding peanuts to their babies from an early age.
Studies conducted on the matter show that subjects who have been exposed to the allergen in their infancy are 81 percent less likely to develop an allergy to peanuts later in life. On Thursday, January 5th, the NIH presented an updated set of guidelines that will teach parents how to test for the allergy, as well as how and when to start feeding their children peanuts.
Avoiding the allergen has become a way of life for the 9-year-old Christine’s mother. Gwenn Aspen says the little girl is carrying with her a fanny pack filled with auto-injectors and EpiPens everywhere she goes because of her food allergies, one of which is related to peanuts. Even though she believes the new guidelines could not have helped her daughter, as she suffered from the allergy since her birth, she does believe that the practice will help prevent other children from experiencing the hardships that come with the condition.
While Dr. Daniel Brooks, an allergist at the Asthma and Allergy Center in Bellevue believes the situation will take a turn for the better in time, associate professor of medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Jill Poole says she has been encouraging parents to expose their children to peanuts since first the study’s findings have been published in February 2015.
Much similar to the peanuts allergy, a 2005 study found that people who were introduced to wheat later were more susceptible to developing an allergy to the grain than those who were exposed to it since infancy. Ultimately, the researchers say that babies who display signs of egg allergies or severe forms of skin rash eczema should be introduced the earliest to peanuts. However, doctors recommend parents seeking medical council when it comes to feeding their children peanuts.
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