Peanut allergies are a real problem, to the point where even ballparks are ditching the legumes for a night to raise awareness. But the main question is how to prevent or reduce peanut allergies, especially in kids who are likely to develop one. And the National Institute of Health just recommended pretty much the exact opposite of what parents have been told for years.
Generally, parents are advised to keep their kids away from peanut products until age three. But medical studies have found the exact opposite to be true, and the medical evidence has gotten so overwhelming that the government basically wants doctors to chuck allergic children into a vat of peanut butter:
Those children at highest risk should be exposed to peanuts earliest — at 4 to 6 months — and be referred to a specialist who might perform a blood or skin test before deciding how to handle their first exposure to peanuts. Some may decide that with low readings, the child could be given peanuts at home, while others may suggest giving a child peanuts for the first time in a doctor’s office anyway.
There’s reason to believe that early exposure is a good way to either prevent an allergy or at least reduce its severity. While the number of diagnosed allergies in the 21st century has gone up, likely due to better medical testing and tracking, there’s still a growing and worrying problem with other allergies. The same might be true of other common allergies, like tree nuts or eggs, but research is still ongoing. Talk to a doctor before you make , of course, but the future of allergies might be a meal at the doctor’s office.
(Via The Washington Post)