Peanut allergy prevention has become an important issue because of the rise of peanut allergies. Every year more children are diagnosed with peanut allergy and researchers are unable to explain why this is the case. Scientists have been looking for cures, studies are ongoing right now for peanut allergy oral desensitization and peanut patches. These studies are still early in trials and treatment may not be seen for many years to come.
In the past, guidelines were published by the American Academy of Pediatrics telling parents in order to prevent peanut allergy, strict avoidance should be done until the child is 3 years old. Despite these guidelines, we still have seen a rise in peanut allergy. Now a recent study actually shows quite the opposite. In order for peanut allergy prevention to occur, studies have actually shown that early introduction of peanut to the child can actually prevent peanut allergy. Children from 4 months to 11 months were broken into two treatment groups, one was given an Israeli peanut snack, Bamba and the other group was told to strictly avoid peanuts until 5 years of age. The results were profound. The group that was given the peanut allergy snack had significantly less peanut allergy when the studies were concluded. 14% of the group that avoided peanuts developed peanut allergy as compared to only 2% in the Bamba treated group.
This is now a game changer in how we educate parents in peanut allergy prevention. Of course there still is a risk of allergy when ingesting peanuts. Those children who have eczema, egg allergy or a family history of peanut allergy, should consult an allergy doctor or their pediatrician before giving their child peanuts. If there is a strong suspicion of possible peanut allergy, the child can undergo an allergy test, either by the skin prick method or by blood testing via the IgE Immunocap method.