Peanut allergies are currently one of the most common food allergies. The number of kids allergic to peanuts has skyrocketed over the years, causing many schools and daycare centers to ban anything that may contain traces of nuts.
So how can we stop this epidemic from growing? Is there even a way?
Scientists are saying yes.
Currently, guidelines recommend that parents exclusively breastfeed (or use a breastfeeding alternative) until infants are six months. After that, they can start with solid foods including common allergens. However, after sifting through results from more than 140 studies, researchers have determined with "moderate certainty" that if you introduce your child to peanuts starting at four months old, you can reduce the risk of a peanut allergy.
This approach also works for egg allergies. It does not, however, work for wheat and fish.
"It's still not clear if this approach alone will prevent the whole food allergy epidemic," write Merryn Netting, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Katie Allen, a Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Allergiston for Essential Baby.
It doesn't mean every child exposed to peanuts at a young age won't get these allergies, but it can decrease the number of people effected. If that is the case, it could mean the return of the classic PB+J to schools all around the country.