The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has updated its peanut allergy guidelines and said that people should feed their infants peanut-containing foods as early as 4 to 6 months of age to reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy
The guidelines have been updated based on the findings of the result of the same organization wherein it was found that eating peanut-containing foods from the age of four months to five years reduced the risk of peanut allergies in future by a whopping 81 per cent among infants deemed at high risk because they already had severe eczema, egg allergy or both. The update comes in the form of Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States and it supplements the guidelines issued in 2010.
The addendum provides three separate guidelines for infants at various levels of risk for developing peanut allergy and is targeted to a wide variety of health care providers, including pediatricians and family practice physicians.
Addendum Guideline 1 focuses on infants deemed at high risk of developing peanut allergy because they already have severe eczema, egg allergy or both. Herein experts have recommended that infants should have peanut-containing foods introduced into their diets as early as 4 to 6 months of age to reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy. Guideline 2 suggests that infants with mild or moderate eczema should have peanut-containing foods introduced into their diets around 6 months of age to reduce the risk of peanut allergy. Guideline 3 suggests that infants without eczema or any food allergy have peanut-containing foods freely introduced into their diets. NIAID points out that in all cases, infants should start other solid foods before they are introduced to peanut-containing foods.
The NIAID, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, said that peanut allergy is a growing public health problem for which there is no treatment. People living with peanut allergy, and their caregivers, must be vigilant about the foods they eat and the environments they enter to avoid allergic reactions, which can be severe and even life-threatening. The allergy tends to develop in childhood and persist through adulthood.