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UK Doctors Probe Lotion Link to Nut Allergies

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By katiee on Sat, 06-16-01, 23:14

Another PA parent passed along this link and asked that it be posted.

Monday June 4 10:51 AM ET

UK Doctors Probe Lotion Link to Nut Allergies

By Patricia Reaney

LONDON (Reuters) - British researchers warned on Monday against using skin products containing peanut oil on children with eczema or other rashes because it could increase their risk of developing nut allergies.

Scientists from St. Mary's Hospital in London and Bristol University in southwest England believe the skin products may be linked to an alarming increase in nut allergies.

They have discovered that one in 100 children have a peanut allergy, many more than previously thought. Nine out of 10 youngsters with the ailment have also suffered from eczema, a condition which makes skin dry and blistered.

``We have established the strongest link (yet) so that it is quite clear that children with eczema and crusting rashes in general are at high risk of developing peanut allergy,'' Dr. Gideon Lack of St. Mary's Hospital told Reuters.

The scientists suspect skin products made with nut oils -- which may include creams, lotions and shampoos -- may lead to the development of peanut allergy.

The findings, presented at a medical conference on Monday, still needed to be confirmed by larger studies, they said, but they recommended that children with eczema or other allergies should not be exposed to the creams.

``There is enough evidence to caution against children from allergic backgrounds having these creams put on their skin, particularly if they have rashes,'' Lack said.


The research was based on a 10-year study of children in southwestern England to determine genetic and environmental causes of a variety of diseases.

``In eczema, the skin barrier breaks down and there is an abundance of immune cells in the skin that could be exposed to substances that cause allergies,'' Lack said.

``We are currently looking into whether exposure of the skin to products containing peanuts or peanut oil may be responsible for starting peanut allergies.''

An allergy to peanuts is the most common cause of fatal allergic reaction to food. It causes hives, wheezing and diarrhea. The most serious cases result in anaphylactic shock which can be fatal.

Doctors had suspected that the number of children allergic to peanuts was rising because pregnant women were eating them and exposing their babies in the womb, or through breast milk.

Expectant mothers, especially those with other allergies, were advised not to eat peanuts. But the new findings may contradict the earlier recommendations.

``We need to examine that link (with pregnancy), or absence of that link, more closely,'' Lack added.


Katiee (Wade's mom)

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