WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Medical experts have done an about-face on whether or not babies should be kept away from peanut products.
What was shunned, is now recommended.
Two-year-old Marie Delsignore has been a fan of peanut butter all her life.
Her parents said the advice from the pediatricians at Boston Children’s Health Physicians in Harrison was to start her out early.
“They said as soon as we were comfortable with it, start giving her a lick of peanut butter, put it on a spoon or finger and that’s just what we did since she was a few months old,” Vincent Delsignore said.
It’s now official; the National Institute of Health said babies should start getting used to peanuts as young as 4-months of age. It’s a kind of inoculation that may actually prevent an allergy from developing.
“It makes sense to me that we’re taking a step back to look again at what is the real cause of all these allergies,” Kate Hannon said.
The previous practice has been to keep all peanut products away from children for fear of an allergic reaction. In the first 10 years of the 21st century, peanut allergies among children increased five-fold.
Researchers realized something was wrong.
Call it counter-intuitive, but the absence of peanuts in the diet seems to have made severe allergic reactions later more likely, not less.
“It surprises me that it’s such a radical shift, however it definitely looks like what we’ve been trying hasn’t been working,” Rachel Horan said.
Parents though, still need to heed the advice of their child’s pediatrician because as CBS2 has been told, not everyone can escape being allergic.
“It’s never going to go down to zero; there’s always going to be children with peanut allergies, but then it hopefully will decline, then stabilize instead of rising as it’s been doing,” Dr. Jillian Hochfelder said.
Dr. Hochfelder said it could end the epidemic as we know it, but some parents remain skeptical.
“I would not. I wouldn’t take the chance. I definitely would not take the chance,” Marie Masser said, “Even after hearing this.”
In other words — if they were wrong last time, why are we so sure they’re right now?
It’s estimated that roughly 2 percent of American children have peanut related food allergies.