Let Your Kids Be Free From Peanut Allergies: Feed Them Peanuts At An Early Age

By Olivia Reese, Parent Herald September 21, 02:51 am

A peanut allergy is no laughing matter, especially for children who have it. A new study found that parents can prevent their kids from developing peanut allergies by feeding them peanuts while they're still very young.

Scientists from the Imperial College London found that children aged between four and 11 months who ate peanuts have a 70 percent decreased risk of developing peanut allergies as they get older, the Telegraph reports. The same cannot be said for kids who ate peanuts for the first time when they grow up.

The new research commissioned by the U.K. Food Standards Agency examined data from 146 studies, which analyzed more than 200,000 children. The latest research has prompted the United Kingdom government to review its 1998 advisory against feeding babies with peanuts and eggs, which is another common allergen. Kids who started eating eggs between four and six months have a 40 percent decreased risk of developing an egg allergy.

Research leader Dr. Robert Boyle, however, stressed that parents should avoid feeding peanuts and eggs to babies who already have a known food allergy or other allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis or eczema, where patches of skin become itchy, red, and dry. Boyle advised parents to consult physicians first before introducing peanuts and eggs to their kids with these allergic conditions, the Telegraph further reports.

Around one in 20 children in the U.K. have food allergies. In the United States, peanut allergy is the most common food allergies among children, with many schools declaring that they are "nut-free" since peanut allergy cases increased in numbers, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) discloses.

The symptoms of a peanut allergy are itchy skin or hives (small spots or large welts on the skin), nausea, runny or congested nose, and itching or tingling sensations in or around the mouth or throat. Children with a peanut allergy can also have the less common anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that makes breathing difficult and sends the body into shock.

The number of peanut allergy cases among children has increased in recent years. In May 2010, a study found that peanut allergy cases more than tripled in number between 1997 and 2008, ACAAI noted.

There were beliefs that having a peanut allergy is a lifelong condition, but a research from the National Institutes of Health found that 20 percent of those with the allergy outgrow it in the long run. Peanut allergies, however, can recur, according to Mayo Clinic.

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