What To Do About Babies and Peanuts: New Study Finds Early Exposure Can Prevent Allergy

This research is of particular interest to me as my DD has a likely Cow’s Milk Protein (CMP) allergy and possible egg allergy. We have her allergist appointment this Friday, as she has turned 4 months and will be ready to start solids soon. She will have a skin prick test to test for CMP and egg sensitivities, among other common allergens. Depending on the results, she will see a dietitian who will determine what foods to commence and when.

As I have a background in dietetics and clinical coding, I’m not concerned if she has a confirmed allergy as I am able to interpret the results and manage her dietary needs.

It continues to be an interesting journey, particularly when it comes to accessing medical professionals who have the relevant skills and expertise in the area of allergy management. If it had not been for my professional background, I don’t think I would have been able to successfully navigate the ‘medical system’ to get the help we needed with her allergy. Especially as a first time mum, some health professionals are quick to put the symptoms of allergies, such as refux, colic, eczema and failure to thrive, as just things that the baby will grow out of. In the meantime, these poor infants and parents endure countless sleepless nights, worry and stress seeing their little one in pain and discomfort.

I have also been involved in recruiting babies to the Starting Time for Egg Protein (STEP) study at the Women’s and Children’s hospital and Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide. This study recruited babies at an increased risk of egg allergy and randomised them to the control group (given a powder without egg) and the intervention group (given powder containing a small amount of egg). Babies that had not exhibited eczema and who hadn’t already eaten egg were given a sachet of powder to mix into their food everyday from the age of 4 months to 10 months. At 12 months of age, these babies are given a skin prick test to see what their egg allergy status is.

As this study is still underway, there are no results at the present time, but it will be interesting to see whether their results are in line with the peanut studies. Only time will tell.

The Science of Mom

You’ve probably already seen headlines about a study showing that feeding children small amounts of peanut products in the first 5 years of life can prevent the development of peanut allergy. The study was conducted in the U.K., led by Gideon Lack of King’s College London, and was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine (free full text available here).1Why is this study important?

Photo by Sanja Gjenero Photo by Sanja Gjenero

Food allergies are on the rise in Western countries, and peanut allergy is one of the scariest. In the U.S., more than 2% of children and their families are now living with a peanut allergy, representing a 5-fold increase in prevalence since 1997.2,3 And this allergy isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s now the biggest cause of anaphylaxis and death related to food allergy in the U.S.4 This is a huge concern to parents wondering…

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