Health experts say parents should feed their children peanuts from an early age in order to lower chances of peanut allergies.
That’s according to new guidelines released by The National Institute of Health. The institute recommended that parents feed their babies foods containing peanuts beginning as early as four months.
“Living with peanut allergy requires constant vigilance. Preventing the development of peanut allergy will improve and save lives and lower health care costs,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci said, contributing to the report.
“We expect that widespread implementation of these guidelines by health care providers will prevent the development of peanut allergy in many susceptible children and ultimately reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy in the United States.”
The Associated Press reported that things such as watered down peanut butter and peanut flavored snacks are safe for a baby to eat with supervision.
Here are the guidelines put forth by the NIH:
1. All babies should try other solid foods before peanut-containing ones, to be sure they’re developmentally ready.
2. High-risk babies should have peanut-containing foods introduced at age 4 to 6 months after a check-up to tell whether they should have the first taste in the doctor’s office or if it’s OK to try at home with a parent watching for any reactions.
3. Moderate-risk babies have milder eczema, typically treated with over-the-counter creams. They should start peanut-based foods around 6 months, at home.
4. Most babies are low-risk, and parents can introduce peanut-based foods along with other solids, usually around 6 months.
5. Building tolerance requires making peanut-based foods part of the regular diet, about three times a week.
According to Food Allergy Research and Education, peanut allergies — and food allergies in general — are on the rise. In a 2013 study, they concluded that food allergies among children increased by 50 percent from 1997 to 2011. In contrast, peanut allergies just about tripled in that same time frame. But no one seems to know why.
Hopefully, the new recommendations help diminish this number and aid parents in their quest to find a cure for these complicated allergies.
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