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NIH: Peanuts, Infants Should Mix Early On to Help Prevent Allergy

Image: NIH: Peanuts, Infants Should Mix Early On to Help Prevent Allergy

A new recommendation from the NIH says infants should be introduced to peanut foods early on to help prevent lifelong allergies. (Dvmsimages/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 02:43 PM

New guidelines from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest parents should feed their infants food with peanuts to help prevent a peanut allergy in the future.

New research showed feeding infants peanut products early in life may help prevent a lifelong allergy, so the NIH now recommends introducing the legume to babies early on.

Peanut allergies are a growing health problem, says the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, and there's no treatment or cure.

A 2010 survey showed some 2 percent of children in America have a peanut allergy; that’s four times more than 1999.

The new guidelines were sparked by a trial involving more than 600 infants. The trial showed children who consumed peanut products regularly up to the age of 5 were 81 percent less likely to develop a peanut allergy.

“The (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) study clearly showed that introduction of peanut early in life significantly lowered the risk of developing peanut allergy by age 5,” said Daniel Rotrosen, the director of NIAID’s Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation, in an NIH news release.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID’s director, said people had it all wrong, believing it was better to keep peanut products from their children.

“They thought that perhaps we should try the counterintuitive approach of feeding peanuts to babies early on rather than withholding them in order to protect them,” Fauci said, The Washington Post reported.

Fauci said in the news release the new guidelines will “save lives and lower health care costs.”

“We expect that widespread implementation of these guidelines by health care providers will prevent the development of peanut allergy in many susceptible children and ultimately reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy in the United States,” he added.

Here are the actual guidelines issued by the NIH:

• For infants deemed a high risk for developing a peanut allergy, based on eczema or egg allergies, experts suggest feeding them food with peanuts as early as 4 to 6 months old.
• Infants with mild to moderate eczema should be introduced to peanuts at six months old.
• For babies without eczema or egg allergies, researchers say parents can start giving them peanut foods when they see fit.

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New guidelines from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest parents should feed their infants food with peanuts to help prevent a peanut allergy in the future.
NIH, peanuts, infants, prevent, allergy
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2017-43-05
Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 02:43 PM
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