We’ve Been Doing it Wrong on Allergies

Decades of advice to avoid allergens in early life appear to have inadvertently increased allergy rates, and now a growing body of evidence supports the safety and benefit of their introduction early in life.

The change in understanding has prompted Australian allergy guidelines to strengthen the recommendation to introduce solids and potential allergens from four months of age.

Last year a pivotal study found high-risk children had an 81% reduced risk of developing peanut allergy by age five if introduced to peanut butter at between four to 11 months compared with those whose parents were advised to avoid it until 60 months.

The children consumed six grams of peanut protein per week in the form of smooth peanut butter or peanut snacks.

As well, fewer children in the consumption group had high levels of peanut-specific IgE. Follow-up of the same cohort has now confirmed that protection from allergy persisted at age six, even after a 12-month peanut-free interval.

Of the 550 children enrolled in the study published in the NEJM, children in the consumption group were significantly less likely to have a peanut allergy than those who had avoided peanuts, even after their yearlong break (4.8% vs 18.6%).

This answered the lingering question about whether a break from eating peanuts would sabotage the protection conferred by early introduction… Read More>>

Source: Ruby Prosser Scully via Medical Republic

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