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Peanut Allergies Are Developing Earlier in Infants

Study suggests that many parents are ignoring guidelines to delay introduction of peanuts

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Despite medical recommendations urging the delayed introduction of peanuts to infants with a family history of allergy, the age of first exposure and reaction in peanut-allergic children appears to be declining, according to the results of a study published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

Todd D. Green, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and colleagues reviewed the medical charts of pediatric peanut-allergic patients seen at Duke University between July 2000 and April 2006.

The researchers found that the children were first exposed to peanuts at a median age of 14 months and experienced their first reaction at a median age of 18 months, a significant decline in the median ages of 22 and 24 months, respectively, observed in a similar population profiled between 1995 and 1997. They also found that children born in 2000 or later were first exposed to peanuts at a median age of 12 months and had their first reaction at a median age of 14 months, compared to median ages of 19 and 21 months, respectively, in children born before 2000.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed the delayed introduction of peanuts until 3 years of age for infants with a strong (both parents or parent and sibling) family history of allergies, as well as maternal avoidance of peanuts during breast-feeding and possibly during pregnancy for the mothers of such infants," the authors write.

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