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Food allergy advice released

Wednesday July 25th, 2018

Allergy experts have released new guidance to help protect high risk infants from developing sensitivity to food.

The experts, from the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology, recommend exclusive breastfeeding for about six months of life, then solid foods from around six months.

For all babies, breastfeeding would ideally continue until the age of 12 months.

For infants with a known risk factor for food allergy - eczema, or an existing food allergy - the advice is to avoid the infant's known allergens. They add that foods containing peanut and hens' eggs can be started at six months, as research has shown that delaying this may raise the risk of allergy.

This guidance is based on recent recommendations covering the first year of life from Public Health England's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. It is aimed at UK healthcare professionals, with an accompanying information sheet for parents and carers.

President of the Society, Dr Shuaib Nasser, said: "This guidance provides practical advice on the early introduction of potentially allergenic foods in children. We hope that the effect of early introduction will reduce the number of children developing food allergy in the longer term.

"The guidance is designed to provide useful background and practical advice in implementing the recent evidence from around the world but in particular, two UK-based studies in which infants under 12 months were randomised to earlier introduction of foods such as peanut and then monitored for food allergy."

The guidance states that allergy tests can help identify individual infants at higher risk, but systematically screening all infants with more severe eczema is not currently available in most areas and may not be effective.

http://www.bsaci.org/about/early-feeding-guidance

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Diet & Food | Nursing & Midwifery | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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