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Can Early Exposure Prevent Peanut Allergies?

Conventional wisdom has long held that if a child is at risk for peanut allergies, it’s best to delay exposure as long as possible. But in recent years, research has shown that early exposure is key to preventing allergies to peanuts.

Can Early Exposure Prevent Peanut Allergies

In 2017, guidelines in the United States and the UK stated that it’s best to introduce allergens like peanuts around the time that children begin to eat solid food, usually between 4 and 6 months. Children who are at risk for allergies should undergo a blood or prick test before introducing peanuts.

An Israeli Snack Called Bamba

The revolution in thinking actually started when researchers decided to investigate why there was such a low rate of peanut allergies in Israel. They discovered that most Israeli children were introduced early on to a peanut snack called Bamba. In fact, 90% of Israeli families buy Bamba on a regular basis. This snack is soft and easy to chew, so Israeli parents use it as one of baby’s first finger foods.

According to Dr. Eiliana Aaron, "On top of this, peanuts are practically a national obsession. They are everywhere and in everything. It all sounds like the recipe for an allergy epidemic, and yet it produced the opposite."

A study was then conducted on babies who had egg allergies or eczema, which are both indicators of a future peanut allergy. One group was not fed any peanut products, while the other ate peanut butter or Bamba three times a week. At age 5, when both groups were tested for peanut allergies, researchers found that exposure to peanuts in the first year reduced the risk of peanut allergy by 81%.

Preventing Other Food Allergies

As a result of this study, researchers began to study the effects of early exposure to other food allergens, such as milk, wheat and eggs. The results of these studies suggest that children exposed to allergens before the age of one were less likely to develop food allergies. However, evidence is not as strong as it is for peanut allergies.

New guidelines were then issued which recommended early exposure, especially for babies who are at risk for allergies. Testing for peanut allergies is recommended before introducing foods with peanuts, but other allergies have a high incidence of false positives, so testing is not recommended for them.

Before introducing babies to food allergies, parents should learn the signs of food allergies. A rash, vomiting, flushed skin, scratching, coughing or breathing problems can be signs of food allergies, and medical treatment should be sought at once.

Food Allergies and Pregnancy

Many women who have allergies in their families have chosen to avoid eating allergens during pregnancy in an effort to prevent food allergies. This precaution has proven to be ineffective, and pregnant women do not have to be cautious about eating common allergens. Of course, pregnant women who have other children at home with food allergies should be vigilant about not exposing those children to allergens by leaving them around or by cross-contact.

Feed Them Peanuts

Whole peanuts and big globs of peanut butter can be a choking hazard and shouldn’t be fed to children until age 4. But thinly spread peanut butter on bread or a snack like Bamba can be fed to kids as soon as they start eating solids and reduce the likelihood that they will develop a peanut allergy.

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What Our Clients Say

Meticulous in their preparations

During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.

 After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.

 Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.

 We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.

T.M., Chicago, USA

Comfortable, calm, and at ease

We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!

We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.

My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!

It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)

We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!! 

CO, Canada
April 2016

Very Helpful

Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.

Yasher Koach!
L.R., NY, NY

Delicious and Safe

Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel.  We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!

All the best,

S.C., New Jersey

Thank You

We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.

T.G., Philadelphia, PA

The Allergy Card was Extremely Helpful

"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew.  The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”

G.A. Illinois USA

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