Why are food allergy parents freaking out over the NIH guidelines?

 

On Thursday January 5, the news broke that the NIH was changing the guidelines regarding peanut introduction for children. I am not sure why this is such huge news as this is not new information. This is just another organization making the same recommendation that was based on the LEAP study, which was released in 2015. The study looked at early introduction of peanut in high risk infants. The results have been in the news often since the study and each time there is grumbling from within the food allergy community. With the most recent coverage, however, the grumbling has now become an outcry.
Honestly, I don’t understand the reaction. This is just a guideline for doctors to implement and it’s pretty specific. It talks about at what age to introduce, what to do if it’s an infant with eczema and egg allergy and more. The guidelines were based on a study done by medical doctors. This isn’t just a reversal of an idea; it’s based on a theory, and conclusion with evidence behind it to support it.
I can understand the outcry to some of the headlines that say “introduce early to prevent developing a peanut allergy”. Some of the headlines are totally misleading. As a multiple allergy mom, I will say I don’t think you can always prevent an allergy. Take a milk allergy, for example. Most infants are exposed to milk early on though formula, but yet milk is the most common allergy in children. Moreover, a recent study done showed early introduction of baked egg to infants also may prevent egg allergies from developing in high risk infants. That was not met with the same outcry that peanut was. Again, nothing is a 100%. This is just one more thing in a big world of theories.
I think these guidelines make some food allergy moms feel guilty, not so much from the study, but how the media is playing this. I get the feeling of guilt. It’s constantly put on us food allergy moms– from studies that say it was what you did and didn’t eat while pregnant, to C-sections causing food allergies. Somehow it always falls on the mom. This is no different; many followed the guidelines that we had at the time. We do the best we can with the information we have at the time. Personally, in my kids’ case I don’t think any of this would have mattered. They came out allergic and have a strong family history of allergic conditions. I see this as just another theory that might work for some.
Another concern parents are expressing is that people will now think kids with peanut allergies can eat peanuts. I am not sure how or why people would think that as the guidelines are VERY clear. This only looks at early introduction for infants! Neither the new guidelines nor the LEAP study talk about people who already have peanut allergies. This does not change anything for those who are already allergic. Claiming such a misinterpretation is a hard stretch to make as not one media report makes that claim, and clearly the study doesn’t say such things.
We food allergy parents must realize we live in a time when a lot of studies are coming out, which is a good thing! At the same time, we must realize that we can only do the best we can with the information available at the time, and not feel guilty about each new recommendation.

On Thursday January 5, the news broke that the NIH was changing the guidelines regarding peanut introduction for children. I am not sure why this is such huge news as this is not new information. This is just another organization making the same recommendation that was based on the LEAP study, which was released in 2015. The study looked at early introduction of peanut in high risk infants. The results have been in the news often since the study and each time there is grumbling from within the food allergy community. With the most recent coverage, however, the grumbling has now become an outcry.
Honestly, I don’t understand the reaction. This is just a guideline for doctors to implement and it’s pretty specific. It talks about at what age to introduce, what to do if it’s an infant with eczema and egg allergy and more. The guidelines were based on a study done by medical doctors. This isn’t just a reversal of an idea; it’s based on a theory, and conclusion with evidence behind it to support it.
I can understand the outcry to some of the headlines that say “introduce early to prevent developing a peanut allergy”. Some of the headlines are totally misleading. As a multiple allergy mom, I will say I don’t think you can always prevent an allergy. Take a milk allergy, for example. Most infants are exposed to milk early on though formula, but yet milk is the most common allergy in children. Moreover, a recent study done showed early introduction of baked egg to infants also may prevent egg allergies from developing in high risk infants. That was not met with the same outcry that peanut was. Again, nothing is a 100%. This is just one more thing in a big world of theories.
I think these guidelines make some food allergy moms feel guilty, not so much from the study, but how the media is playing this. I get the feeling of guilt. It’s constantly put on us food allergy moms– from studies that say it was what you did and didn’t eat while pregnant, to C-sections causing food allergies. Somehow it always falls on the mom. This is no different; many followed the guidelines that we had at the time. We do the best we can with the information we have at the time. Personally, in my kids’ case I don’t think any of this would have mattered. They came out allergic and have a strong family history of allergic conditions. I see this as just another theory that might work for some.
Another concern parents are expressing is that people will now think kids with peanut allergies can eat peanuts. I am not sure how or why people would think that as the guidelines are VERY clear. This only looks at early introduction for infants! Neither the new guidelines nor the LEAP study talk about people who already have peanut allergies. This does not change anything for those who are already allergic. Claiming such a misinterpretation is a hard stretch to make as not one media report makes that claim, and clearly the study doesn’t say such things.
We food allergy parents must realize we live in a time when a lot of studies are coming out, which is a good thing! At the same time, we must realize that we can only do the best we can with the information available at the time, and not feel guilty about each new recommendation.

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