According to new guidelines from the National Institutes of Health, an expert panel sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) suggests that parents introduce peanut-containing foods to infants prior to their first birthday.
As peanut allergies continue to be a growing health problem, the new recommendations provide three guidelines for introducing peanuts based on their risk of developing a peanut allergy. It is recommended to introduce peanuts to the highest risk group – those with severe eczema, egg allergy or both – as early as four to six months. For infants with mild or moderate eczema, the recommendations are that peanut-containing foods be introduced around six months of age. The third group, those without eczema or any food allergies can be given peanut-containing foods freely. Solids should be introduced prior to peanuts and parents should always consult their pediatrician for more information.
“Living with peanut allergy requires constant vigilance. Preventing the development of peanut allergy will improve and save lives and lower health care costs,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “We expect that widespread implementation of these guidelines by health care providers will prevent the development of peanut allergy in many susceptible children and ultimately reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy in the United States.”
Emerging data has suggested peanut allergies can be prevented by the early introduction of peanut-containing foods. The new guidelines can be viewed in full here.