Children need to go to school to learn how to read and write. Likewise, children exposed to foods early in infancy (between 4 and 10 months) are more likely to tolerate the foods.

Societies where children are exposed to peanuts during weaning (many communities in the Middle East) have a prevalence of peanut allergy twenty times less that countries such as the UK.

Percentage of 5 year old children with peanut allergy

Eat 4%
Avoid 19%

Children with eczema and/or egg allergy are less likely to develop peanut allergy if they are given peanut-containing weaning foods e.g. peanut butter regularly from 4 – 10 months old (DuToit G, et al, Randomized Trial of peanut consumption in children at risk of peanut allergy. N Engl J Med, 2015). Orange bar: children who consumed peanut containing food from 4 – 10 months until 5 years of age; Red bar: children who avoided all peanut containing foods until the age of 5 years. Results show percentage of children who reacted to peanuts on formal oral challenge in hospital).

CURRENT RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE REGIONAL NORTH WEST CHILDREN’S ALLERGY NETWORK

    1. Children who have developed clinical allergy to a food (urticaria or angiodema, vomiting or diarrhoea, laryngeal oedema, asthma or faintness) should AVOID the food until they have been assessed by a healthcare professional with experience in children’s allergies. Where the history is atypical or there have been no reactions for a number of years, a supervised food challenge may be indicated.
    2. Children who have never experienced an allergic reaction to a food should NOT undergo allergy tests to this food as they may give false results. Instead they should be allowed to consume age-appropriate amounts and preparations of the food as part of their infant weaning diet. Delaying the introduction of the food until school age may promote rather than prevent food allergy.