While it is important to recognize that large strides remain to be made in our understanding and treatment of food allergy, it is equally important to celebrate our accomplishments. The food allergy community is celebrated a victory in early 2017: a ground-breaking protocol for the prevention of food allergy has been published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology. The protocol suggests early introduction of peanuts—one of the most common allergens—to infants in hopes of preventing the development of peanut allergy.
By studying data from over sixty publications—including the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) trial, the LEAP-On trial, and the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study- an expert panel was created and the Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States: Report of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases were developed.
The panel defined three risk groups of infants, each with specific guidelines to early introduction of peanuts. The guidelines explain that for high-risk infants—those with severe eczema, egg allergy, or both—physicians should strongly consider evaluation and, based on certain test results, introduction of peanut-containing foods around four to six months. For infants with mild-to-moderate eczema, peanuts should be introduced around six months. Finally, these guidelines recommend that for infants with no eczema or any food allergy, peanuts should be introduced at an age appropriate and in accordance with family preferences and cultural practices.
In light of the new findings, it is very important to remember to consult your pediatrician with any questions you may have. We are very excited about this recent advancement in the food allergy community. For more information, see our recent press.