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Your Healthy Family: Introducing your child to peanuts

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As the end of 2017 draws near, we're taking a look at our favorite Your Healthy Family stories this year.

In January, I talked with an allergist and immunologist Dr. Meaghan Misiasz with UCHealth Memorial about new guidelines with peanut allergies in children.

Dr. Misiasz said there are guidelines every parent should follow, which should always start with talking to your child's pediatrician. From there, family history of an egg allergy, severe eczema could be considered a high risk for a peanut allergy, which will affect the approach you should take when introducing them to peanuts.

"These guidelines are recommending to introduce at  four to six months for those high risk children," said Dr. Misiasz. "For moderate risk introducing around six months, and then for kids with low risk no family history of food allergy or dermatitis, just introduce as you would normally for your culture."

A high risk child should be introduced to peanut for the first time at the doctor's office.  If your child is at moderate to low risk based on family history, the introduction of peanut is generally made at home.

"Mix peanut into different vegetable puree and use peanut butter, or peanut powder," she said. "I like to just rub it inside the gum and make sure the child will tolerate it okay and see how they do with that first taste."

After that first taste, Dr. Misiasz said you will want to watch closely for any reaction.

"Symptoms to watch out for at home are a mild rash, or a little flushing of the face. A child might seem like they are more itchy, but that's hard to determine in a 6-month-old," she said. "Look for more severe reactions like repetitive cough drooling, swelling of the tongue or mouth or even difficulty breathing."

If you do notice a reaction, Misiasz said you should call the pediatrician or doctor and see what they recommend.

"They might advise over the counter medication or they may have you come in, but either way stop them from eating peanut at that point," Misiasz said.

Dr. Misiasz added the results of the latest studies and the new unified guidelines show the early introduction of peanuts can have big benefits to kids.

"There was a dramatic decrease in those children who went on to develop a peanut allergy with introduction beginning this early," she said.

If you have any questions about introducing peanut to your child follow up with your pediatrician or an allergist.

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