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Peanut In Household Dust Associated With Peanut Allergy In Children With Eczema During Infancy

Update Date: Nov 19, 2014 10:19 AM EST

A new study has found a strong association between environmental exposure to peanut protein during infancy and an allergic response to peanuts in children who have eczema early in life. 

Nearly two percent of school children in the UK and the US are allergic to peanuts. 

The study looked at the among of peanut protein infants aged 3-15 months were exposed to in house dust, by vacuuming dust from the living room and measuring peanut in the dust. 

The study noted that exposure to peanut in dust early in life doubled the risk of peanut allergy. In children with a history of eczema, the risk of peanut allergy increased further, the press release added.

 "This study adds to the growing body of evidence that exposure to peanut via a damaged skin barrier may increase the risk of peanut allergy. Previous studies have shown, for example, that infants with eczema treated with creams containing peanut oil in the first six months of life had a higher risk of developing peanut allergy later in life," said Dr Helen A Brough, first author from the Department of Paediatric Allergy, King's College London, in the press release.

"This is further evidence for the dual-allergen-exposure theory which suggests food allergies develop through exposure to allergens via the skin, likely through a disrupted skin barrier, whilst consumption of these food proteins early in life builds up tolerance in the body. Previous guidelines recommending that mothers should avoid peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding have now been withdrawn. It may be that the timing and balance of skin and oral exposure to a particular food early in life determines whether a child develops an allergy or tolerance to that food, " added Professor Gideon Lack, senior author from the Department of Paediatric Allergy, King's College London, in the press release.

The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  

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