5 January 2017
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has published new guidelines on the early introduction of peanut-containing foods for the prevention of peanut allergy in the United States, in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. In response, the British Society for Immunology has issued the following statement:
Dr Tariq El-Shanawany, British Society for Immunology spokesperson and Consultant Clinical Immunologist and Honorary Senior Researcher at University Hospital of Wales, said:
"Recent evidence, such as from the Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) study, has suggested that early introduction of peanut reduces the rate of peanut allergy. As a result the American National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has published updated guidance on weaning. While it should be noted that this guidance has been formulated for the United States, there are similarities with NHS guidance. NHS guidance states that, “There is no evidence that waiting until your child is older will prevent them developing a food allergy”, and suggests weaning from 6 months and discussing with the health visitor or GP if you want to introduce solid foods before 6 months.
"It is sensible practice to give your baby foods in small amounts initially, and to be observant for an allergic reaction. This is particularly relevant if the baby is at increased risk of allergy (for example if there is a family history of allergy or the baby has a condition such allergy to another food or eczema) where additional caution should be used and discussion with a healthcare professional before introducing nuts is advised. Nuts should not be given whole due to the risk of choking."