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Peanut Allergies: How New Research Helps Decrease Breakouts In Infants; NIH Guidelines Released

Update Date: Jan 06, 2017 08:30 AM EST
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Scientists have found a new way to prevent infants from developing peanut allergies. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released guidelines stating that children below 3 years old should avoid peanuts which could lead to life-threatening allergic reactions. This time, medical practitioners have a different perspective.

In 2015, a clinical trial titled "Learning Early About Peanut Allergy" looked into a better way of preventing such occurence. The results revealed that high-risk children who had peanuts regularly in their diet when they were still infants had 81 percent lower chance of developing allergy when they are five years old.

Recently, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released the new guidelines to medical practitioners. The recommendation is based on the level of risk the infant has for developing peanut allergies. Babies on the highest risk level are those with severe eczema, with egg allergy or both. On the middle risk level are infants with mild to moderate eczema, while the lowest risk have no eczema or food allergies at all.

Introduction of solid foods, other than peanuts, is recommended at the age of four to six months so that the infant can demonstrate his ability to take in food. Guardians of infants are still encouraged to visit their health care provider during this time for other allergy evaluation before the actual introduction of peanut.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that he "would be surprised if we would not see a dramatic decrease in the incidence of peanut allergies" over a period of years. This type of allergy has claimed more lives due to anaphylaxis than any other food allergy. The chairman of American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's food allergy committee, Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, believes that infants have now "a window of time in which the body is more likely to tolerate a food than react to it."

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