Nuts allergy is getting quite prevalent, affecting around 2% of the kids and altogether a miserable condition. Think of the food you cannot eat when you have nuts allergy, not just nuts themselves but also cookies, chocolates, jam, candies, desserts , biscuits... basically all the sinfully good food!
Scientists have not yet figured out why nuts have become such a threat but many airlines do not offer nuts to prevent any life threatening reactions from happening at a high altitude. Singapore Airlines recently came under fire when a three year old boy started to vomit and swell when other people seated around him were eating nuts.
It's not a laughing matter as allergic reactions can range from abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomits, to anaphylaxis, where a body is shocked and may no longer breathe. To deal with such situations, they have to carry an epipen around.
As with all allergy, people were advised against early exposure to nuts so as not to cause the onset of nuts allergy. It is a no-brainer, stay away from nuts until the immune system is mature which is around 3 years old.
However, new studies done that may actually help to lower the cases of allergy.
Researchers observed nuts allergy happening 10 times more likely among Jewish children in Britain, who did not consume peanut products during infancy. This is compared to children in Israel, where peanut-based foods are regularly introduced at around seven months of age.
It is definitely counter-intuitive: By giving nuts to infants before their first birthday, as early as 6 months old!
Not whole solid peanuts but peanut butter, boiled nuts in porridge and other softer forms is acceptable too. It has been observed that the more we stay away from nuts, the higher the chance our immune system will view them as a threat.
Thus, if we introduce nuts earlier, the likelihood of an allergy will be lowered.
This is the actual guideline taken:
- All babies should try other solid foods before peanut-containing ones, to be sure they’re developmentally ready.
- High-risk babies should have peanut-containing foods introduced as early as four to six months after a checkup to tell if they should have the first taste in the doctor’s office, or if it’s OK to try at home with a parent watching for any reactions.
- Moderate-risk babies have milder eczema, typically treated with over-the-counter creams. They should start peanut-based foods around six months, at home.
- Most babies are low-risk, and parents can introduce peanut-based foods along with other solids, usually around six months.
- Building tolerance requires making peanut-based foods part of the regular diet, about three times a week.
For me, I introduced peanut butter and boiled nuts in soup to my baby girl at around 8 months old, right after this new discovery went public. I am terribly afraid that she will be allergic as I have lots of nuts at home! I am relieved that she is happily enjoyed her cookies right now.
So do share this information with all new parents: Introduce nuts to babies so as to prevent nuts allergy in the future.