1 in 13 children has a food allergy. That's roughly two kids in every classroom.
The rise in food allergies has given new parents another cause for concern.
Common food allergies, include milk, eggs and nuts.
Reactions can be serious, and even life threatening.
What's most shocking? The dramatic increase in food allergies in recent years.
Dr. Gaurav Kumar said, “What's fascinating is that in the last 20 years, allergies of all kinds, including food allergies have actually doubled roughly.”
It's not a clear why but one possibility is the hygiene theory, which basically says we've made our environments too clean with too few germs. “Our immune system has had less to do and therefore it's actually started reacting to other things,” said Dr. Kumar.
In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics made a recommendation saying parents should avoid giving their children certain foods until later in a child's life. Avoid milk until age one, eggs until age 2, and nuts until age 3, but in 2008 they struck down those guidelines, saying it was unclear what the right age should be.
Dr. Kumar said, “More recently there is actually really intriguing evidence that suggests that for certain kinds of things like peanuts and eggs, it may be beneficial to introduce them earlier in a child's life sometimes as early as four to six months of age.”
Dr. Kumar recommends to begin introducing those foods in a safe manner, closely monitored at home.
If a baby has a family history of food allergies, it should be done under the supervision of a doctor.
Parents should talk with their pediatricians about the best strategy for introducing new foods to their babies.