As of the writing of this article (October 2018), there is approximately a 400% increase in incidence of infants with severe food allergy in the past decade. Concerning as that is, there has been much advancement in food allergy research and education.
In the past, the recommendation was to delay introduction to peanut until after 2 years old and delay egg introduction until after 8 months old. What we know now is that this may be a cause of increasing incidence of severe food allergy.
Recent studies have shown that severe food allergy is caused by food allergens absorbed through inflamed skin or eczema, introducing high allergenic foods too late, and not eating high allergenic foods regularly (eating regularly promotes food tolerance). In addition, infants with a sibling or at least one biological parent who has allergic conditions are at risk for developing severe food allergy, especially if they have eczema or atopic dermatitis.
With this updated knowledge, we understand that the following measures may decrease risk of developing severe food allergy in at-risk infants:
- Minimizing dry, inflamed skin and eczema by applying moisturizer on moist skin at least daily.
- Introducing cow’s milk-based-formula by 2 weeks old and continue eating 2-3 times a week regularly.
- Introducing egg between 4 to 6 months old and continue eating 2-3 times a week regularly.
- Introducing peanut between 4 to 11 months old and continue eating 6 grams a week regularly until 5 years old according to LEAP study.
These are new understandings to date, however, multiple questions (such as dosage of the foods and long term protection) still need to be answered. Several studies are being done to confirm and answer the questions. We will continue to provide the most current and relevant information as food allergy education is vital to overcoming this disease. Stay tuned…
Think you or your child may have a food allergy? Book and appointment today!