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Published on May 05, 2014

Lowering Your Child’s Risk of Nut Allergies

If you’re a parent, you know there’s an endless list of things you need to protect your child from. But what happens when one of those things is something as simple and prevalent as peanuts and tree nuts?

Peanuts and shells

About three million Americans have
peanut and nut allergies.

About three million people in the U.S. have a peanut and nut allergy and it’s on the rise. According to various studies, the number of children with a peanut allergy tripled between 1997 and 2008. And although the American Academy of Pediatrics advised pregnant women back in 2000 to eliminate peanuts and tree nuts from their diets to prevent their children from developing a nut allergy, the guidelines were reversed in 2008 due to lack of evidence that it actually helped—frustrating concerned parents everywhere.

Study Suggest Eating Nuts during Pregnancy with Lower Risk of Nut Allergies in Children

However, a recent study suggests that the opposite might now be true; children of women who regularly ate peanuts or tree nuts during pregnancy might be at a lower risk for nut allergies than other kids.

Why the complete flip-flop? Researchers believe early exposure to nuts might help build up a baby’s tolerance to them after birth, as it gives its immune system a chance to adjust to the food during development.

Although this completely contradicts those earlier studies, researchers who conducted the new study say the old ones were based on less reliable data.

While more research on the effects of nut consumption during pregnancy is needed, there’s hope that parents will soon have new guidelines to go by and that this will help to slow the rising rate of nut allergies in children.

Common Food Allergies

About 15 million people in the U.S. have food allergies and almost six million of them are children. The most common food allergens in children include milk, soy, wheat, egg, peanuts, eggs, tree nuts, shellfish and fish. Food allergens can cause a range of reactions, including skin rashes, facial or tongue swelling, difficulty breathing and even loss of consciousness.

While most children outgrow food allergies by age five, it’s taking them longer to do so than in previous decades. Generally, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish or shellfish are lifelong allergies.

No-fault Food Allergies!

While you should speak with your physician if you have any questions regarding safe foods to eat during pregnancy and when breastfeeding, it’s important to understand that some kids develop food allergies without it being anyone’s ‘fault.’

Contact Us

If this happens, be sure to discuss how to manage your child’s allergies with his or her pediatrician. To find a Crozer-Keystone pediatrician who is right for your child, please call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258) or visit our 'Find a Provider' site and choose 'Pediatricians' in the Specialty drop-down box.

Learn more about Crozer-Keystone's Allergy and Asthma services. To schedule an appointment with a Crozer-Keystone allergist and immunologist who is right for you and your child, please call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258) or visit our 'Find a Provider' site and choose 'Allergy and Immunology' in the Specialty drop-down box.

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