Children's Health

Doctors recommend early exposure to prevent peanut allergies

Ingredients of a Fluffernutter sandwich -- Marshmallow Fluff, peanut butter and bread -- are shown in Marlborough, Mass., Tuesday, June 20, 2006. The beloved New England sandwich now finds itself at the center of a sticky political debate at the Massachusetts Statehouse. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

Ingredients of a Fluffernutter sandwich -- Marshmallow Fluff, peanut butter and bread -- are shown in Marlborough, Mass., Tuesday, June 20, 2006. The beloved New England sandwich now finds itself at the center of a sticky political debate at the Massachusetts Statehouse. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)  (AP)

A pediatricians' group is recommending that infants at high risk of peanut allergies be given foods containing peanuts before they turn 1.

The interim guidance is in response to a major allergy study published earlier this year that found that exposure to peanuts in infancy seemed to help build tolerance — contrary to conventional thinking.

Baby-suitable foods used in the study included smooth peanut butter, peanut soup and finely ground peanuts mixed into yogurt and other foods.

The advice comes in a consensus statement that the American Academy of Pediatrics helped prepare and endorsed in June along with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and several foreign allergy groups.

The academy is releasing the statement online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Allergy tests are recommended before exposing at-risk infants to peanut-containing foods between 4 months and 11 months of age.

These are youngsters who've had skin reactions to eating eggs or a severe eczema skin rash, which suggests a possible food allergy.

The recommendations are meant to serve as interim guidance while more extensive guidelines are prepared by the National Institute of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Those are expected by next year, the consensus statement said.