We all love roasted peanuts, masala peanuts, peanut butter and more. They are healthy, tasty and add a strong flavour to a pool of dishes. In fact, it is one common ingredient available in every household. But unfortunately, a large section of people can't enjoy this nutty goodness due to an allergy - commonly referred to as peanut allergy. A common cause of severe allergic attacks, it is often diagnosed in children across the globe. Several studies have also found that peanut allergy has been increasing in children over the years. While it is always advised to consult a doctor, a new study states that regular dose of peanuts to the kids (especially the preschoolers) may help reduce the risk of allergic reactions. This study by the researchers at the University of British Columbia and BC Children's Hospital was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
"Exposing children to a small, regular dose of an allergen (in this case peanut) in a real-world setting (outside of a clinical trial) is effective in reducing the risk of allergic reactions," read the study. This treatment method is known as oral immunotherapy.
The researchers conducted an experiment on 117 preschoolers with peanut allergy. All these kids were aged between 9 months and 5 years. They were given a daily dose of 300mg of peanut protein, which was equivalent to about one peanut or a quarter teaspoon of peanut butter.
It was found that almost every kid could eat 3 to 4 peanuts after a year without any allergic reaction. And 80 percent of them could eat up to 15 peanuts. As per the experts, resistance to 3-4 peanuts "is enough to protect from 99 per cent of accidental exposures". However, some children experienced some allergic reactions during the course; but those were mild to moderate (sans any severities).
This study comes as a ray of hope for the kids and their families who face real troubles due to these allergic reactions.
"Now, thanks to oral immunotherapy, these kids can accidentally eat something with peanut butter in it--like a cookie or cake--and not suffer a reaction, which is wonderful news for the families," explained the study's lead author Dr Lianne Soller, UBC allergy research manager based at BC Children's Hospital.