Key to Fighting Food Allergies Might Be Earlier Exposure
One reaction to preventing dangerous food allergies in infants has been to avoid exposure to common allergens until the infant has reached one year. However, research suggests that earlier exposure might actually be the key to prevention. At the recent American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) Scientific Meeting, allergist Katrina Allen, MBBS, PhD, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia made the case for why guidelines for delayed introductions should be reconsidered. In a presentation, she stated that there is a growing body of observational and trial data for other foods (including egg) that find that delaying the introduction of allergenic solids increases the risk of food allergy. She notes that the timing of changes to infant feeding guidelines mirrors the rise in incidence of food allergies.
She also noted that there have been studies that seem to support the delayed introduction of common allergenic foods including peanuts, eggs and milk. Though the evidence can sometimes be contradictory, she argues that an earlier introduction schedule may serve to reduce common food allergies. Even for infants with higher risk of allergies, such as those with eczema, a delayed introduction of peanut increases the risk of peanut allergy. The question as to how to achieve timely introduction of peanuts and eggs into the diet in a safe way, particularly in high-risk infants, remains unresolved. However, guidelines that affect all children are unnecessary and possibly do more harm than good.
Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C
Posted: December 5, 2016
Adapted from the original presentation and article.
[Image: Pixabay / Brett_Hondow]