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  • Introducing Allergens During Quarantine: What Parents Need To Know

    By: Annie Bunje

Introducing Allergens During Quarantine: What Parents Need To Know

By: Annie Bunje

Introducing Allergens During Quarantine: What Parents Need To Know

By: Annie Bunje

Learn why you should still start or continue early allergen introduction during quarantine, including insights from Dr. Anthony Fauci. Also, learn how to safely introduce your baby to allergy-causing foods at home.

Especially during uncertain times, introducing allergens can be overwhelming for many parents. We’re here to help answer commonly asked questions about introducing allergens during quarantine, including:

  • What are the guidelines on early allergen introduction? 
  • Should I start and/or continue early allergen introduction during quarantine?
  • How can I safely introduce allergens at home? 
  • What should I do if my baby has an allergic reaction? 

Guidelines On Early Allergen Introduction

Thanks to recent clinical trials and new medical guidelines, we now know we can prevent up to 80% of food allergies before they start. These new medical guidelines come from leading medical organizations including the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the NIAID, weighs in on the importance of these new research and guidelines "For a study to show a benefit of this magnitude in the prevention of peanut allergy is without precedent. The results have the potential to transform how we approach food allergy prevention. We're talking about saving thousands and thousands of kids from peanut allergies."  

“We're talking about saving thousands and thousands of kids from peanut allergies." - Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the NIAID


These new guidelines recommend: 

  1. Starting Early: Based on the research, health organizations from around the world are recommending allergen introduction as early as 4 months of age.
  2. Continuing for Several Months: Feeding your baby allergenic foods once or twice has not been shown to reduce the risk of developing a food allergy. Therefore, even more important than starting early is continuing to frequently feed your baby these allergenic foods multiple times a week over many months.

Introducing Allergens During Quarantine

“Because delaying early allergen introduction can put your child at a greater risk for developing food allergies, it is still recommended to follow the guidelines on food allergy prevention and introduce allergens as early as 4-6 months of age,” explains our Chief Allergist and Board Certified Allergist Dr. Katie Marks-Cogan. “Furthermore, babies need regular exposure to allergens for many months to build tolerance so consistently feeding allergens is also strongly recommended.” 

New research shows that introducing allergens in the first year of life is the safest time and reactions, if any, are often mild. This underlines the importance of introducing allergens early not only to prevent food allergies but also to maximize safety. 

Important to note: Parents of babies with severe eczema and/or egg allergy should still consult with a pediatrician first before introducing allergens. 

Tips for Introducing Allergens Safely

  1. Choose A Time When Baby Is Healthy: When you’re ready to introduce allergenic foods, choose a time when your baby is healthy. Make sure that an adult can closely monitor your baby for at least 2 hours, to watch for any signs of a reaction.  
  2. Start Early: Studies recommend starting as early as 4-6 months, to align with a critical immune window, giving your infant the best opportunity to develop a positive response to new foods and aligning with new research on the safety of introducing allergens in the first year of life.
  3. Introduce One Food At A Time: Following pediatric guidelines, only introduce allergenic foods one at a time every few days, to determine how the baby is reacting to each new food. Ready, Set, Food! introduces one new food at a time, in accordance with these guidelines.
  4. Start with a Low Dose, Then Gradually Ramp Up Dosage: The PETIT study and leading pediatricians recommend this dosing as it maximizes safety and efficacy. Ready, Set, Food! aligns with this guidance, as it starts with a low dose and gradually increases to the full dose.

What Should I Do If My Baby Has An Allergic Reaction?

If your baby shows any signs of an allergic reaction:

  • Immediately stop feeding your baby the allergenic food. 
  • Seek medical advice.

If your baby shows signs of a severe allergic reaction/anaphylaxis:

  • Lay baby flat in your arms. Never hold them upright, and do not let them stand or walk. 
    • If they have difficulty breathing, sit them up.
    • If they are vomiting, or have fainted, lay them on their side.
  • Immediately administer epinephrine with an auto-injector (EpiPen) if available
    • Keep track of the exact time you used the auto-injector.
    • It's extremely important that your baby receive epinephrine promptly, as epinephrine is the only medication that can stop anaphylaxis.
  • Urgently call 911. State that your baby is having an anaphylactic reaction, and ask for an ambulance. 
    • If you used an epinephrine auto-injector, let the ambulance staff know when you used it, and give the used auto-injector to the staff.

The Bottom Line

  • It is still recommended to introduce allergens early and consistently for most babies, even during quarantine
  • Introducing allergens can help significantly reduce your baby’s risk of developing food allergies and avoid putting your child at a greater risk for developing them
  • We now know that introducing allergens before your baby turns 1 is the safest time for early allergen introduction and lowers your baby’s risk of having a severe allergic reaction
  • If your child does show signs of an allergic reaction, immediately stop feeding allergens and seek medical advice.

 

 

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All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.

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