Within the last decade it seems that children with peanut allergies has without question increased, but why? How could a wave of babies be born with this commonality, but in past generations it was never such an epidemic? Those in the medical field are advising parents to expose their children to foods containing peanuts at a younger age to avoid a serious allergy developing later in life.
Recently on NBC News, Dr. Matthew Greenhawt went into great detail about the reasoning behind what some parents feel is extreme to give their babies peanuts to avoid the allergy. He explained that when a baby is around six months old, their immune systems don’t yet identify peanuts as a threat to react to, and usually tolerate the food with ease. By getting them exposed to peanuts at this young age, they lower the chances of ever experiencing the allergen.
Dr. Greenhawt also has a side note of caution to parents doing this method, to carefully observe the infant after just eating peanuts to look for any possible side effects that they may not be tolerating the nuts well. If this seems to be the case, then stop giving the baby peanut butter at once, and possibly have them seen at an allergy specialist to do further testing to be completely certain that the child does have the allergy and not some other condition or illness that created the symptoms they experienced the day of the peanut exposure.
It’s important to note that experts recommend not feeding babies actual peanuts, but giving them peanut butter, or powder is a more acceptable approach. Many in the allergy field feel that more parents engaging in this practice will slowly start to significantly lower the threat of having so many children living with this often fatal food allergy.