In a significant reversal from past advice, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases issued new national health guidelines calling for parents to give their children foods containing peanuts early and often, starting when they are infants, as a way to help avoid life-threatening peanut allergies.
“The new guidelines encourage early introduction of peanuts into the diet of infants,” says leading allergist Dr. Shahzad Mustafa, MD, Medical Advisory Board Chair of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT). “Over the last five to 10 years, really sound research has shown that early introduction seems to be better, and that’s what these guidelines are based on. Given that these guidelines are not necessarily based on opinion, but rather really good scientific data and research, we’re very confident and very hopeful that they will have a significant impact in decreasing the risk of peanut allergy.”
Now that the guidelines are out, many parents will have questions and may be fearful of introducing peanuts to their infants and younger children at home.
“One of the common ones I hear is what about if I have an older child, a sibling with a food allergy, does this apply to them,” said Dr. Mustafa. “That was not specifically addressed in the guidelines, so I would encourage families in that scenario, or other scenarios to discuss their concerns or reservations with their physicians. That’s what we’re here to do – [work together] to make this a team effort of introducing highly allergenic foods, including peanuts…as safely as possible.”
Dr. Mustafa joined me to explain these new recommendations for prevent peanut allergy. He also shared ways parents can give their child the right dose of peanut protein recommended by experts to prevent allergy with confidence.
Take a look at our chat below.
More information is available at www.peanutallergyfacts.org.
Meet Our Guest
Dr. Shahzad Mustafa, MD is Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Clerkship Director, Allergy & Clinical Immunology University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Rochester, NY. He also serves as an Allergist in the Division of Allergy & Immunology Rochester Regional Health System, Rochester, NY, and a FAACT Medical Advisory Board Chair.