Peanut and Food Allergies

Peanut and Food Allergies

A peanut allergy is understandably concerning for any Oklahoma parent. Food allergies can be life-threatening and being prepared in the event of exposure is a necessity.

Fortunately, there is compelling evidence that providing peanut butter for babies can actually reduce the risk of a serious allergy later in life. Understanding the science behind allergen exposure and working to make healthy choices for your children is essential for any parent.

How Do You Know If Your Child Is Allergic to Peanut?

In many cases, parents are unaware that their child has an allergy to peanuts until they have an allergic reaction. A reaction may include swelling, itchiness, hives, tingling in the mouth and throat — and in severe cases, anaphylactic shock, a potentially life-threatening condition involving difficulty breathing and a drop in blood pressure. This can be understandably stressful, and some parents — particularly those who have peanut allergies in their familial histories — may choose to avoid exposing their children to peanuts altogether.

What Is the Latest Research on Giving Peanuts to Babies?

Peanut allergies have become more common over the last several decades, even as "peanut-free" spaces have become more and more prevalent. To better understand the dynamic, scientists studied the effect of exposure to peanuts in babies. In a randomized and controlled 2015 study that included around 600 babies with severe eczema or egg allergies (and who were thus more statistically prone to having peanut allergies) — scientists found that children who had regular exposure to peanut products up to age 5 were far less likely to develop a peanut allergy.

In short, the study made clear that environmental exposures to potential allergens at an early age have a major effect on the development of allergies later in life.

Current Recommendations For Giving Peanuts to Babies

As a result of this research, scientists adopted new guidelines for exposing babies to peanut products, which are as follows:

  • Babies with severe eczema or egg allergies are recommended to be tested for a peanut allergy early in life — and then, after obtaining results, parents should determine a possible plan for exposure to peanut products with their child's doctor.
  • Babies with mild or moderate eczema should be potentially exposed to peanut products early in life, ideally beginning at around six months per conversation between their parents and pediatrician.
  • Babies with no eczema or egg allergy should be allowed to try peanut products at any time, per typical familial practices.

It is also important for Oklahoma parents to note that peanut butter for babies should be pureed and smooth — or should be served in the form of age-appropriate snacks containing peanut butter. (Babies should not have whole peanuts or chunky peanut butter due to choking risk.)

What Makes a Child High Risk For Peanut Allergy?

Severe eczema and egg allergy are early warning signs for a potential peanut allergy. Familial history of peanut allergy can also raise the risk of a baby having the same allergy.


Understanding the basics of peanut allergies is essential for any parent. Equally important is understanding potential ways to mitigate or even prevent an allergy.

Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic has nearly a century of experience helping families in Oklahoma and throughout the Southwest treat and manage a wide variety of allergies. Contact us with any questions and learn more about how we can help address your family's allergy concerns.

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