New national guidelines suggest most children should start eating foods that contain peanuts when they are infants, especially babies at a high risk of developing a peanut allergy.
It is a landmark shift in advice that doctors said could significantly reduce allergies in the U.S.
"It is very encouraging news," Dr. Suresh Anne said.
He has been an allergist for years and applauds the new guidelines published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The recommendations aim to reduce the number of potentially deadly peanut allergies.
"Food allergies are a serious issue. Especially peanut allergies. Peanut allergies can be life threatening," Anne said.
The recommendations encourage parents to introduce food with peanuts to their children at a young age. The guidelines divide the kids into three categories. High risk infants: Infants that have severe asthma, an egg allergy or both. Parents can either introduce these babies to food containing peanuts at age 4 to 6 months or see a medical professional to have the child tested for peanut allergies. Babies with eczema: They carry a smaller risk of developing a peanut allergy. These children can be introduced to peanut-containing food at 6 months of age. Children without eczema or food allergies and no family history of either: It is the parent's choice of when and if the child will be introduced to peanuts at all.The experts don't want parents feeding kids under 4-years-old actual peanuts because they are a choking hazard. Instead, try introducing them to something like peanut butter.
"Taking a spoon of peanut butter and mixing it with some water, just a drop touching the tongue," Anne said.
Anne said if the child reacts well to the peanut based food they should be fine. If they don't take well to the peanuts, then stop giving it to them. He also said if your child does not fall under the at-risk categories, it may not make a difference whether you expose them to peanuts or not.
"I would be a little bit hesitant. I would be a little bit cautious in having everybody introduce the peanut product," Anne said.
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