Food allergy prevention
The last few years have seen a substancial shift in our understanding of how to prevent food allergies. With the publication of the LEAP study (www.leapstudy.co.uk) and the EAT study (www.eatstudy.co.uk), we now know that, food allergies can be prevented by introducing solid foods into your child’s diet before 6 months of age, including introducing allergenic foods. This guidance is now available at the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (http://www.bsaci.org/about/early-feeding-guidance).
Children with early onset eczema, requiring prescribed steroid creams for their eczema have a 50% chance of having peanut, egg or sesame seed allergy by the time they are one year old so it is very important to try to prevent this.
At Children’s Allergy Doctors we can test to see if your child is already allergic to a food or ‘sensitised’ (which is when the allergy test is positive but we are not yet sure if they are allergic) and we can advise you on which foods can be safely introduced at home and which foods need to be introduced under supervision in case of an allergic reaction.
We provide a supervised feed and food challenge service to be able to confirm whether your child is allergic to a food or not. Thereafter, we tailor a food introduction plan for your child with the aim to prevent the development of food allergy, based on the latest research.
Even if your child is already allergic to one food, there may still be time to prevent them from developing allergies to other foods. I am leading the Pronuts study which is evaluating the effect on introducing selective nuts into the diet in children already allergic to peanut, tree nuts or sesame seed.
We work closely with paediatric allergy dietitians to assist with recipes and advice for introducing these foods into the diet and provide written and verbal advice on how to perform this safely and incorporate this into your daily routine.