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CARE

In a nutshell: Peanut allergy and your infant

New clinical guidelines from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recommend introducing your child to peanut-containing foods during infancy. Earlier introduction is said to limit the risk of developing peanut allergies. These guidelines are based on the findings of The Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) allergy study funded by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health.  

Here's what you should know before feeding peanut products to an infant:

  • Peanut, tree nut and other food allergies are serious medical conditions that may cause anaphylactic shock, resulting in death in some cases.
  • Talk to your child's pediatrician or health care provider to determine if your child is at high risk for having a peanut allergy or other food allergy.
  • Never give an infant peanuts or peanut butter, which may cause choking. Instead, use food products that contain peanut protein.
  • Your baby should be eating other solid foods before trying foods that contain peanut protein.

If your infant is at high risk:

  • Infants who have an egg allergy and/or severe eczema by age 4-6 months are most at risk, and they need to see an allergist before trying any peanut-based foods.
  • Infants who test positive on an allergy test should never be given peanut products. 
  • If the allergist has found that your infant is not yet allergic, he or she will be introduced to a peanut product in the office under supervision. Follow the allergist's instructions for feeding peanut-based foods at home. Follow these guidelines carefully to reduce the risk of your baby developing a peanut allergy.

If your infant is at increased risk:

  • Infants who have mild to moderate eczema by 4-6 months don't require allergy testing, but you'll want to talk to your provider about how to safely introduce peanut products at home. Make sure you understand the signs of an allergic reaction.

If your infant is at average risk:

Infants at average risk are those without eczema or other allergies. You can introduce peanut products as you would any new food.

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