New treatment for peanut allergies
One of the most common and severe allergies in children is to peanuts. Can new research help parents and children treat the condition?
What did the study find? Evidence shows that in 80% of children who have a peanut allergy it’s likely to be a lifelong problem. But new research from the UK has found that over a period of six months a child may be desensitised to peanut protein. The researchers studied a small number of children under close medical supervision and introduced a tiny amount of peanut flour to their diet, increasing the amount slowly to build tolerance. In the beginning they were only able to eat the equivalent of one fortieth to a quarter of a peanut, and after the intervention was complete, some children were able to eat 10 whole peanuts without any adverse effects. Is this a cure? In severe cases of peanut allergy it can be life threatening to be exposed to even a small amount of peanut, so it’s important not to try this at home. Australian allergy specialists have some reservation about the results, pointing out the study was conducted on 33 children of which only five succeeded and four dropped out of the study because of adverse reactions. It is also not known whether the tolerance that is built up will last long term and specialists would still advise carrying an EpiPen in case of an unexpected reaction. Until more conclusive research is conducted they don’t see this as a cure for peanut allergies. Our advice: If you suspect your child may be experiencing a food allergy or intolerance, it is important to seek treatment from an allergy specialist who can provide the individual care each child needs. If you would like to speak to a qualified dietitian about nutrition or would like a FREE copy of our healthy eating for kids brochure, you can call us on 1800 673 392. *brochure available until May 30.