New recommendation: introduce peanuts to 4-6 month old babies
Louisville, KY (WDRB) -- 14-year-old Cameron Luker is enjoying a sunny day hitting the pavement. He's a runner, a Boy Scout and loves archery. But what he doesn't love is a condition he has to live with. Cameron Luker says, "I'm allergic to nuts, all types of nuts, chocolate and peas."
Allergists say the number of kids with food allergies like peanuts and tree nuts has become an epidemic over the past 12 to 15 years.
Dr. Stephen Pollard with Family Allergy and Asthma says, "30 years ago, we'd rarely see a child with life threatening reactions to a food. Now we see it. It's somewhat common."
More than three million people in the U.S. report being allergic to peanuts, tree nuts or both.
Pollard says there's a reason why so many young children have food allergies. He says, "It seems as though withholding peanut and another highly antigenic foods, we've robbed the child of their natural ability to build up tolerance."
For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised delaying milk until kids reach age one; eggs until age two; and peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts, and fish to age three. But a new recommendation is out.
Pollard says, "I think the experts, the Academy of Allergy Meeting in March, the experts seem to be moving towards down to the age even as young as four months."
Some researchers believe introducing the most allergenic foods to kids between four months and six months old can help prevent food allergies from developing.
John Luker, Cameron's dad says, "It makes sense to me in some ways, just so long as parents are prepared and know what to look for if something does cause a reaction. It's encouraging, so hopefully more kids don't have to live with what Cameron has lived through."
Kids like Cameron do have to keep Epi-pens with them in case there's an allergic reaction.
Cameron Luker says, "It's an injector which holds Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline and it sends the medicine and stab it in your leg. You use that to hold off the effects until you get to the hospital."
Cameron says he's always reading food labels and making sure he watches what he eats, making sure there is no cross contamination.
When asked what types of foods he'd love to try if he didn't have the allergy, he says, "Chocolate, anything chocolate, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate chip cookies."
It's also Peanut Allergy Awareness Night on Friday at the Bats game. Peanuts and other nut products will not be sold and the stadium has been cleaned to get rid of any peanut dust and residue.
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