New research shows there may be a way to prevent peanut allergies, for kids at high risk of developing an allergy or those already diagnosed.
Babies with severe eczema or egg allergies are at higher risk of developing peanut allergies. But they can reduce that risk by eating peanut-containing foods as early as 4 to 6 months, according to new guidelines from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. All other babies can begin eating peanut-containing foods around 6 months. Always consult with your doctor.
For older children who’ve already been diagnosed, there’s also new hope. A recent study of oral immunotherapy (OIT) found that eating tiny and gradually larger amounts of peanut protein can suppress the allergic response in preschoolers. After two years of treatment, 80 percent of the allergic kids were able to eat peanuts without reacting, as compared with only 4 percent of the control group. However, you should never try OIT yourself at home; instead, consult your doctor. A wearable patch that releases tiny amounts of peanut protein through the skin is also being developed.