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Using Peanuts to Treat Allergies to Peanuts

March 20, 2016
Plain English Version

peanut butterThe current advice: keep peanut foods away from infants and toddlers. The new advice: give them peanut foods. That is the finding of a new study. It turns the old rule on its head.

Many children suffer from peanut allergies. The number is increasing. The allergies can even be life threatening. Many schools ban peanut-related products.

Food allergies in youngsters are increasing. They include reactions to eggs and dairy products. Some experts say too much cleanliness may cause some allergies.

Anti-bacterial soaps, disinfectants and other cleansers are part of modern life. One study looked at children from families that used dishwashers. The kids were more likely to have allergies than kids whose plates were washed by hand.

Scientists say the immune systems become less resistant to germs.

The study looked at a group of infants and toddlers who were at risk of developing peanut allergies. Some were also allergic to eggs or had eczema. Eczema is a skin condition that can be caused by allergies.

The study set up two groups to test the idea that the group getting the peanut products would have fewer allergies. And that is what happened.

Among the group of children who did not get peanuts, about 14 percent became allergic by age 5. Among the group that did get peanuts, only 2 percent became allergic by age 5. That is a huge difference.

The outcome was so dramatic that the head of the federal allergy institute said, “The results have the potential to transform how we approach food allergies.”

Experts say you should not use allergy prevention strategies on your own. Consult your pediatrician for advice.

Source: The Los Angeles Times February 23, 2015

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