Nut allergies are one of the most common allergies among American kids. Peanut allergies, in particular, have only gotten more common. That’s bad news because peanuts can cause a life-threatening reaction in some kids.
To cut down on peanut allergies, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) recommends getting kids used to peanuts as babies. That is, so long as babies aren’t already allergic.
The thinking is that feeding babies peanuts early will keep them from making the antibodies that play a key role in allergic reactions.
New research suggests that this approach is working.
The study found introducing peanuts to kids before they were a year old cut peanut allergies by 16%. The prevalence of peanut allergies was 3.1% in 2007-2011. It decreased slightly to 2.6% in 2018-2019.
Still, researchers say the prevalence of peanut allergy remains high.
Is your child at risk for a peanut allergy?
According to Food Allergy Research and Education, babies with severe eczema and/or an egg allergy are at high risk for developing a peanut allergy. Babies with mild to moderate eczema have a moderate risk. And babies with no eczema or egg allergy are at low risk.
Bottom line: Don’t play around with peanuts. Especially if your baby has a moderate or high risk for a peanut allergy. Talk to your baby’s doctor about introducing peanuts into your baby’s diet safely.