A practice article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) outlines five things to know about the early introduction of peanuts in infants to reduce the risk of peanut allergy.
- Infants who are fed peanut protein regularly have a lower risk of peanut allergy. A previous randomised controlled trial of 640 infants younger than 11 months with either egg allergy or moderate-severe atopic dermatitis found that 3.2 per cent of children who ate 2 g of peanut butter three times per week developed peanut allergy after five years compared with 17.2 per cent of children who did not (P<.001>
- To prevent allergy, peanut protein (such as peanut butter or powdered puff) may be introduced at home for most babies between four and six months.
- Babies with severe eczema are more likely to have peanut allergy; those with no or only mild eczema are best suited for peanut introduction in the home.
- Infants with risk factors for peanut allergy, such as severe eczema, egg allergy or both, should be seen by a specialist before peanut introduction.
- To reduce the risk of peanut allergy, 8 g of peanut protein (one heaped teaspoon of peanut butter) should be eaten at least twice a week. This intervention does not treat peanut allergy.