New Option Could Help Prevent Kids From Getting Food Allergies

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – What if there was something you could do now to stop your kids from ever getting food allergies?

Well, there’s now a new option out there for parents to do just that.

The FDA has recently approved a label touting that a product contains ground peanuts, to alert parents it may be preventative.

“It basically indicates that introducing peanut between 4 and 6 months of age could be beneficial in infants who have a high risk for development of peanut allergy,” Dr. James DeAngelo, of Allergy & Clinical Immunology Associates, said.

The claim is based on a study of more than 600 children at high risk of peanut allergy due to known egg allergy or severe eczema. They were randomly assigned to avoid peanuts or not. By age 5, 17 percent of the avoiders had a peanut allergy, compared to only 3 percent of the non-avoiders.

Introducing peanuts early is counter to the former advice, which was to delay new foods.

“We talk to parents all the time about early introduction of peanuts will help decrease peanut allergies in the future, and they’re even having a hard time grasping that,” Dr. Joe Aracri, of Pediatric Alliance Green Tree, said. “The thought process is so new, that the medical community, the pediatricians are all having a hard time turning around and facing the changes we have to make.”

The question is will the label be helpful to kids not at high risk?

“We really don’t know when you should introduce peanut into children at low or no risk supposedly of developing peanut allergy,” DeAngelo said.

Officials caution against using whole peanuts due to the choking risk, and high risk kids should be tested first to make sure they are not indeed allergic.

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