Peanut Allergy Prevention in Children

Schools everywhere have been faced with the realities of food allergies. They have had to create peanut free zones in the cafeteria. They have had to be trained in how to handle anaphylatic shock. Fear of peanut allergies has even caused airplanes to remove peanuts as a snack as particles of peanut dust could be carried in the air to cause an allergic reaction. Why are we experiencing this allergy in epidemic strength? It may be because we are introducing foods too early to infants. My son experienced his first reaction to peanuts at 9 months of age when I gave him a small bite of peanut butter cracker. I did not know anything at that time about peanut allergy risks or I would have introduced table food and especially peanut butter much later. Here are some suggestions to prevent allergies in children.

The following suggestions are given by allergy specialists to help prevent peanut allergies in children.

Provide a smoke free environment for your baby from pregnancy on. This can prevent severe allergies. As children exposed to second hand smoke are in danger of asthma which is often associated with peanut allergies.

Pregnant women with a history of a child or relatives with peanut allergies should avoid eating peanuts and peanut products such as candy bars etc.

Choose to breastfeed your baby.

Avoid eating peanuts and peanut products during the entire time that you nurse the baby.

Delay the introduction of solid foods to your infant.

Wait longer to introduce table foods.

Do not introduce peanut products until the child is two years old.

Hope for the Future:

There is a test trial being done on children with peanut allergies. Thus far it has been found to be effective. The child is given small amounts of peanuts daily to build up a tolerance to peanuts. This is very dangerous to try at home but hopefully soon doctors will be able to use the results of these tests to help children build an immunity to peanut

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