Preventing Peanut Allergies in Kids

Preventing Peanut Allergies in Kids

When Mark Drew painted Peanuts comic strip characters mouthing rap lyrics by Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., and others, some folks thought it made Peanuts too menacing.

Now there’s a plan for how to make real peanuts less menacing: A study found the best way to prevent potentially life-threatening peanut allergy is to let infants and young kids under age 5 have a little bit of the pure legume and its proteins -- the allergic part --  as part of their diet.  

The researchers followed two groups of infants at high-risk for developing peanut allergy (they had severe eczema, egg allergy or both). The 4- to 11-month-old children who were fed peanuts had an 81% reduction in the incidence of peanut allergy (13.7% of kids in the “no-peanuts-for-you” group developed the allergy; 1.9% of the kids who ate peanuts did). It makes you wonder if avoiding peanuts is what’s caused the number of kids with peanut allergies to double in the past decade!

So what does this mean to parents? Researchers excluded kids (through a scratch test) who might already be allergic to peanuts and you should do the same. If everything checks out, talk with your doctor about following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation: “Highly allergenic foods can be started in small doses at home once other foods such as grains and vegetables are tolerated.” Then, avoid peanut products loaded with sugar and emulsifiers. Opt for the pure stuff!

Medically reviewed in July 2019.

More On Children's Health

Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies

article

Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies
If you’ve got a growing child check out this worrisome statistic: A third of North American children are overweight or obese by age nine. This is why ...
Kids Can Avoid Repetitive Use Injuries with Sports

article

Kids Can Avoid Repetitive Use Injuries with Sports
Not long ago, seasonal athletics gave kids the option of participating in several different sports over the course of a school year. One athlete who k...
How Can I Put My Baby On a Sleep Schedule?

video

How Can I Put My Baby On a Sleep Schedule?
Keeping your baby on a structured sleep schedule can mean a better night's rest for you. In this video, Dr. Oz guest Dr. Tanya Altmann gives her best ...
Does Stomach Flu Affect Children Differently Than Adults?

video

Does Stomach Flu Affect Children Differently Than Adults?
Small children are affected more by stomach flu because they can get dehydrated more quickly, says Howard Baron, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at...