Local doctor gives tips on new child peanut allergy guidelines - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local doctor gives tips on new child peanut allergy guidelines

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A tasty, healthy snack containing peanuts can often be life-threatening. For years, parents have been told to hold off on introducing peanut products until a child was 3 or older.

"There has been such a shift in this in 15 years," said Dr. Jameel Clark, a pediatrician at Norton Children's Medical Associates Preston. W"e've gone almost a complete 180. It is sort of dramatic."

Peanuts can be a scary food for parents to introduce to their child. New guidelines tell parents, though, that early introduction is better at preventing a peanut allergy.

A study of hundreds of babies prompted new guidelines by the National Institutes of Health.

"It is safe to introduce peanut products to children in that first year of life," Clark said.

Clark says even earlier is better for babies with severe eczema, an egg allergy or both.

"You can introduce peanut-containing products to those children who are at the highest risk, actually, as early as 4-6 months, which is a big change from what we were doing before," he said.

Peanuts and peanut butter can be a choking hazard. Clark recommends a few ways of introducing peanut products safely. Finely ground up peanuts can be mixed in with yogurt. About a teaspoon of peanut butter could also be stirred thoroughly into yogurt, formula or breast milk.

Clark says parents should give their baby peanut products 2-3 times a week for at least two years.

"You can do that with the help of a pediatrician or an allergist. Usually it is OK to do at home," said Clark, who added that children who are at high risk can often be accommodated at the office of their allergist or pediatrician as a precaution.

Reactions could include a rash, but if your child has trouble breathing, Clark says head to the emergency room. 

Bu the said there is another way to prevent peanut allergies even sooner.

"Mothers who ingest peanut products during their pregnancy may have a lower risk of having children with peanut allergy," Clark said.

If you are still concerned about introducing peanut products to your child, Clark says it is best to consult your pediatrician.

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