Babies with eczema and egg allergies might be more prone to peanut allergies

A recent NIAID-supported study corroborates a 2010 study that suggested an egg allergy might be an indicator of a future peanut allergy in children.

The new study also shows that severe eczema may predict risk for developing a peanut allergy, too. The study, called LEAP, is led by researchers in the UK and is attempting to determine how to prevent peanut allergies by studying the health of infants.

Does early "oral tolerance" make a difference?

One of the tactics researchers are using is to introduce peanut to infants early on, study them until the age of five and determine whether or not early exposure to peanut can help prevent--or trigger--an allergy later in life. The study includes more than 800 infants who are 4-10 months old, 640 of whom are thought to have risk factors for developing a peanut allergy.

The analysis for this trial included several groups with varying allergy profiles. The first were infants with mild eczema and no egg allergies. The second were infants with severe eczema, egg allergies or both. The remaining groups were patients with the same profile as group two, but with varying sensitivities to peanut when introduced by a skin prick test.

Implications for infants with other food allergies

Researchers found that, of the infants who had both egg allergies and eczema, about 91 percent of infants had a higher sensitivity to peanuts.

The findings are similar to the 2010 study, which found similar peanut sensitivity in those with both milk and egg allergies. For parents with infants who have eczema or allergies related to milk and eggs, both studies highlight the importance of talking to a doctor before introducing peanut into a child's diet.

Authors of the recent study note that peanut allergies are rare in countries where peanut is introduced into the diet early on.

Sources: Leap Study, NIH

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