Peanut Allergies in Infants
Any allergy is concerning, especially when it affects an infant. Preventing an allergy may be as simple as early introduction.
An allergy to a food like peanuts can be scary. For some people, exposure to peanuts can lead to severe allergic reactions that can lead to anaphylaxis. One way that parents and, eventually, schools, have treated peanut allergies is to drastically reduce the exposure to the allergen. However, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) has changed their guidelines from 2008.
What Causes a Nut Allergy?
A peanut allergy, just like many types of allergy, is due to a reaction from the body’s immune system. It is the role of the immune system to fight off infections. However, people with allergies have a reaction because the body overreacts to the protein in the legume. The severity of the reaction can range from itching and rash to anaphylaxis.
Who is at a Higher Risk for Peanut Allergies?
- Babies who experience severe, persistent or recurring eczema
- Babies who have been diagnosed with an egg allergy
- Babies who have a family history of peanut allergy
Preventing Peanut Allergies in Infants
In 2019, the AAP published a clinical report on the effects of early nutritional interventions that can impact the development of atopic diseases such as food allergies, asthma, and skin conditions such as eczema.
While peanuts are still on the list of the eight food allergens that must be labeled on packaged food products, the AAP concludes that the early introduction of common allergenic foods such as peanuts can reduce or prevent food allergy. However, introduction guidelines have been endorsed based on the infant’s risk.
- Babies at the highest risk (severe eczema and/or egg allergy) should be tested by an allergist prior to peanut introduction; age of introduction - between 4 and 6 months
- Babies at a slight risk (mild to moderate eczema) do not require allergy testing; age of introduction - as early as 6 months
- Babies with little or no risk can be introduced at any age according to parental preference, however AAP recommends after 6 months for babies who are exclusively breastfed
Food Allergies and Baby Formula
In the clinical study, the AAP did not find conclusive evidence that breastfeeding reduced the risk of a food allergy. In fact, there is no current evidence that exclusive breastfeeding decreases the incidence of eczema or delaying the onset of any particular food allergy. However the AAP continue to endorse exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months as it is the best nutrition for every baby.
If your baby has already been diagnosed with food sensitivity, one of the best organic baby formulas with low allergenic proteins is Hipp Combiotic Hypoallergenic. It is available in PRE, Stage 1 and Stage 2. It can be your exclusive choice for infant nutrition or supplemental to breast milk.