by Amanda Painter, South Chapter Coordinator
In response to the LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut) study, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical professional organizations are endorsing the recommendation of early introduction of peanuts to infants considered “high-risk”. AAP News (High-risk infants were defined based on family history, egg allergy and eczema).
First, I want to most importantly note that it is recommended that infants at high-risk be evaluated and tested, by a medical professional, before introduction. There will be infants that test positive at a young age. Please also be aware that there were a number of children in the LEAP study that weren’t able to complete it because they had a confirmed peanut allergy. Confirmed through proper testing/challenge. Do not feed your at-risk infant peanuts without consulting your physician (preferably a board certified allergist).
You can read FACET’s Medical Advisor, Dr. Singer’s thoughts on the LEAP study here.
Now what? What do we do with this information? How do we respond?
To the parents of children with food allergies:
To those that don’t have child with a food allergies (or have a food allergies yourself):
In my personal story, my daughter’s significant eczema (later discovered to be her reaction to the foods I was eating that she was exposed to through nursing) started before she was 3 months old. I could not have introduced any foods to her before that point. She tested positive for milk, egg, peanut, and tree nut at 9 months (others were added later and some outgrown). Hindsight shows that she was clearly reacting at 3 months. Was she allergic to all of these allergens at that point? What if her allergies were only milk and egg at 3 months? If we had introduced peanut at 6 months would she not have that allergy at 9 months? We’ll never know. At this point I won’t waste my time wondering “what if”…. that’s not productive.
The AAP recommendation change does nothing for my daughter or for the many families that I work with. It may slow the growing number of children being diagnosed however. Fewer children diagnosed with a peanut allergy can lead to fewer children living with the heavy weight of self-management on their shoulders, fewer parents terrified that they may receive the dreaded phone call about a reaction while their child is at school (Kindergarten or college), and possibly fewer precious lives lost to anaphylaxis. Again, it’s not a cure, but it is progress. I’m all for progress.
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