Whether your child has a peanut allergy – or your children eat peanut products around others – here are resources that can help prevent a reaction.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ infant feeding guidelines encourage breastfeeding for one year, with complementary solid foods being introduced around 4-6 months of age.
Research does not support avoiding potentially allergenic foods as a means to prevent food allergies. In fact, introducing peanut protein in infancy (between 4-11 months) showed a reduction in the incidence of peanut allergies, as compared to withholding peanut protein over the first several years of life, according to a comprehensive new study released earlier this year.
As always, foods should be introduced in a manner that is safe for an infant and toddler to eat (such as thinned peanut butter and not whole peanuts) and children should always be supervised when eating.
Education from a medical professional and having a food allergy management plan are key. The more you, your child and those around you know about allergy, the more you can all do to protect the child.
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) has valuable resources to help. Also, be sure to check out AllergyEats, a guide to allergy-friendly restaurants across the country.
Research supports that people with peanut allergies are highly unlikely to have serious reactions as the result of casual contact and that simple soap and water cleans surfaces and hands of peanut proteins. The researchers in this study were also unable to detect the airborne allergen.
Another research study looked at how people with peanut allergies would react to peanuts and peanut butter in their environment. Thirty peanut-allergic children who had previously reported having severe reactions to smelling or touching peanut butter were exposed to the smell peanut butter for 10 minutes and there were zero reactions. In the same study, peanut butter was placed on the child's skin and there were no life-threatening reactions; some experienced redness or irritation where the peanut butter touched the skin.
Ingestion has the potential to cause reactions, some of which could be severe. It is important for people with peanut allergies to use caution to prevent accidental ingestion. Since reactions are unpredictable, every allergic individual should maintain a food allergy action plan to help keep them safe.
You should always consult an allergist if you have concern about a food allergy. Working with an allergist who is familiar with your health history would assist in managing a food allergy risk.
More than 99 percent of Americans can enjoy peanuts without any issue, but according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), peanut allergies affect 0.6 percent of us 14.
Just as if it were your child with a peanut allergy, educating yourself and those around you is critical. The more you know, the more you can do to ensure peanuts and peanut butter can be consumed safely without endangering someone with an allergy.
Results of a recent study suggest that mothers who eat peanuts and/or peanut butter during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding may lower the likelihood that their child will develop a peanut allergy. For more information on these latest findings, visit Researching Solutions.
*The National Peanut Board is not responsible for information presented on outside websites.