Peanut allergies diminish with early expose, a new study says. The New England Journal of Medicine announced that when introduced at a young age, children who would likely develop peanut allergies did not contract them. The study was conducted at Kings College in London and involved 600 babies who were prone to allergies.
The babies either already had skin conditions such as eczema or had a family history of peanut allergies. The parents in the study had to feed their infant a peanut protein or avoid it. By five years of age, the children exposed to peanut proteins had significantly lower risk of developing peanut allergies. By eight years of age, most children never developed the allergy. Peanut allergies can be severe, causing anaphylaxis. This involves the inability to breathe because the throat closes up. For this reason, doctors have erred on the side of avoidance, cautioning parents to steer clear of the legume. A less severe reaction to peanut exposure includes hives, digestion problems and/or wheezing. They are not as dangerous as anaphylaxis, but are troublesome nonetheless.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, postulates that exposing these allergy-prone children to a variety of foods early on helps their emerging immune systems to adapt, and not overreact to certain foods. This landmark study is so important that doctors are encouraged to tell parents that it is okay to immediately introduce peanuts to children who may have peanut sensitivities. Gideon Lack, who headed up some of the research, states that if a child has a negative skin tests, the parent may introduce the child to peanuts immediately. If a skin test proves positive for allergies, a doctor should conduct introducing children to the peanut proteins.
Peanut allergies diminishing with early exposure could not come at a better time. Peanut allergies have quadrupled since 1997. Doctors know that some people have a family history of sensitivities, but wonder what other things may cause allergic reactions. Another journal study set to be released next week declares that eating the dry roasted type may have something to do with the rise of peanut allergies.
The Journal of Allergy and Immunology deduced that dry roasting peanuts may alter them due to the high temperatures. A person’s immune system may be sensitive to the changes, causing the anaphylaxis that comes with an allergic reaction. Researchers believe it explains the rise of peanut allergies in Western countries, where those type of allergies are on the rise. In eastern parts of the world, the peanut is eaten either raw, boiled or fried and peanut allergies are not as common as in the west.
Although peanut allergies diminish with early exposure, long-time sufferers have grown accustomed to avoiding the legume, carrying an anaphylaxis pen or enjoying the many different alternatives to peanut and peanut butter. Almond and cashew butters can substitute for peanut butter for those wanting a nut butter to spread onto their bread. Additionally, wearing a patch with peanut proteins has also proven helpful to those with peanut sensitivities. It protected them from the dangers of an allergic reaction.
By Danielle Branch
Photo Courtesy of Daniella Segura – License
Photo Courtesy of Vu Nguyen – License