The rate of peanut allergies among
children in the United States has rapidly increased over the last decade.
Children with peanut allergies account for roughly 2.5 percent of the pediatric
population. Peanut allergies affect children at both the physiological and a
social level. Allergic reactions to peanuts could be mild to
life-threatening if not treated quickly. Some signs of an allergic reaction
include: hives on the skin, swelling or tangling of the lips, and tightening of
the throat. The former recommendations suggested that delayed introduction to
peanuts could prevent or delay the rates of peanut allergies among infants and
young children. New evidence shows that early introduction may be more
beneficial at reducing the risk of peanut allergies. The LEAP study
conducted on over 640 high-risk infants, gave or avoided peanuts to infants from
four to eleven months and found that the infants that were introduced to peanuts
had lower rates of peanut allergies compared to the infants that were not
introduced. Most children do not outgrow a peanut allergy in adulthood.
That is why reducing the risk of allergy is very important. Lifelong avoidance of
certain foods can often be difficult. Discuss with your child’s pediatrician
before introducing peanuts or any other common allergy foods. New studies show
that early introduction to peanuts could decrease your child’s risk for acquiring
a peanut allergy. It is important to only feed your infant foods that are
appropriate for their age and to discuss with your pediatrician before
introducing your child to new foods especially if your child is of high risk
for peanut or other food allergies.