According to new research presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting, pediatricians may not be putting the new peanut allergy prevention guidelines into practice.

In January 2017, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases issued clinical guidelines regarding the early introduction of peanut-containing foods to infants to help prevent the development of peanut allergy. To see what impact the guidelines had on practice, allergist Bryce Hoffman, MD, ACAAI member and lead author and his colleagues sent out a survey to 188 pediatricians; they received 79 responses. 

Of those who completed the survey, 38% scored a 1 or lower on whether they complied with guidelines (0=lowest, 4=highest). Moreover, 44% of clinicians said they did not refer high-risk children (egg allergy, severe eczema) for peanut allergy testing.

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“We recognize the idea of introducing peanut-containing foods to infants between 4-6 months is scary – especially for parents,” says allergist David Stukus, MD, ACAAI member. “We need to work with pediatricians – the first physicians who care for most babies – to help them become comfortable putting the guidelines into practice. We need to overcome the current barriers so all physicians who deal with infants understand that early introduction could lead to a new generation of children who have far less peanut allergy.”

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