ISLAMABAD: With peanut allergies on the rise worldwide, a study has found that contrary to previous advice, feeding foods containing peanuts to babies before 11 months of age may help prevent allergies.
The findings in the New England Journal of Medicine are based on a British study of 640 children, aged four months to 11 months, who were considered at high risk of becoming allergic to peanuts either because of a pre-existing egg allergy or eczema, which can be linked to peanut allergy, Khaleej Times reported.
“This is an important clinical development and contravenes previous guidelines,” said Gideon Lack, head of the Pediatric Allergy Department at King’s College London, who led the LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) study.
Lack urged parents of babies and young children with eczema or egg allergies to consult with their pediatrician about the possibility of trying to introduce peanuts into their children’s diet.
“We have always been suspicious of a possible increased incidence of allergy to peanuts, and perhaps other foods, due to a delayed introduction of those foods usually occurring after the age of three,” said Paul Lang, a pediatric allergist at North Shore Allergy and Asthma Institute in New York, who was not involved in the study.
“This study points to a possible earlier introduction of food to decrease the ability to become allergic to those foods.”
An allergy to peanuts can develop early in life.
It is rarely outgrown and can be fatal.
About one in 50 school age children in Britain are allergic to peanuts.
The condition is estimated to affect one to three percent of children in the developed world. Incidence is also rising in Asia and Africa.