The alarming rise in nut allergies of the last 20 years has led to a continued cycle of exposing children to less nuts, both at home and in school. Yet recently researchers have come up with a theory on how to avoid allergies that the parents of baby boomers have expounded for years - expose them to the possible source of germs and allergies to build up resistance.
Now a report in the latest issue of the renowned New England Journal of Medicine says attempts to keep children from developing reactions, especially to peanuts, is likely making things worse.
Allergies have been on the rise in recent decades. But new research suggests our attempts to protect children from developing allergies or having severe reactions may have actually made things worse.
“Our findings showed that early, sustained consumption of peanut products was associated with a substantial and significant decrease in the development of peanut allergy in high-risk infants,” the study’s authors, led by Gideon Lack wrote.
“Conversely, peanut avoidance was associated with a greater frequency of clinical peanut allergy than was peanut consumption, which raises questions about the usefulness of deliberate avoidance of peanuts as a strategy to prevent allergy.”
The study showed a 86.1 per cent difference in peanut allergies between an “avoidance” group, who had not been exposed to peanuts in their early development compared to a “consumption” group, given peanuts at age four months and given a regular diet of peanuts to 60 months of age.
The findings, which are similar to others done over recent years, are making "experts" reassess their views on how to protect children from developing allergies and giving weight to what Grandma and Grandpa had been saying for years.