As a way of preventing a life threatening peanut allergy, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reversed national health guidelines last month and now recommends that parents introduce foods containing peanut proteins to their infants and children early and often.
To help parents understand the new recommendations for preventing a peanut allergy, Dr. Shahzad Mustafa, MD, Medical Advisory Board Chair of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) and a leading allergist, discusses the guidelines in the following video.
Additional resources and more information available at www.PeanutAllergyFacts.org
Below are the current recommendations for introducing peanut foods to infants:
- Guideline 1 (severe eczema or egg allergy or both) – introduce age-appropriate peanut foods as early as 4-6 months, after (1) introduction of other solid foods and (2) evaluation with sIgE blood test or skin prick test (SPT) or both. Infants in this category should see their healthcare provider before introducing peanut foods. Depending on the results of the sIgE and/or SPT, peanut foods should be introduced under supervision by a knowledgeable healthcare provider or at home.
- Guideline 2 (mild to moderate eczema) – introduce peanut foods around 6 months of age, in accordance with family preferences and cultural practices. Age-appropriate peanut foods can be introduced at home without an in-office evaluation by a healthcare provider, unless the infant’s healthcare provider or caregiver prefer in evaluation or supervised feeding or both.
- Guideline 3 (no eczema or food allergy) – freely introduce age-appropriate peanut containing foods together with other solid foods and in accordance with family preferences and cultural practices.
Introducing peanut foods to infants is easy and can be done by:
- Feeding the infant 21 pieces of Bamba or similar peanut puff product (either as is or softened with 4-6 tsp of water)
- Mixing 2 tsp of peanut butter into 2-3 tsp of hot water (allow to cool before feeding)
- Mixing 2 tsp peanut butter into 2-3 Tbsp previously tolerated pureed fruit or vegetables
About Dr. Shahzad Mustafa, MD:
- FAACT Medical Advisory Board Chair
- Allergist, Division of Allergy & Immunology Rochester Regional Health System, Rochester, NY
- Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Clerkship Director, Allergy & Clinical Immunology University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Rochester, NY