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NIH issues new peanut allergy guidelines

Most babies should start eating foods containing peanuts well before their first birthday, according to new guidelinesreleased today by the National Institutes from Health.

The recommendations aim to protect high-risk kids and other youngsters from developing dangerous peanut allergies.

The new guidelines mark a complete shift in dietary advice, based on landmark research that found early exposure dramatically lowers a baby's chances of becoming allergic. 

The recommendations spell out exactly how to introduce infants to peanut-based foods and when.

For some, that can start as early as 4 to 6 months of age, depending on whether they're at high, moderate or low risk of developing one of the most troublesome food allergies. 

"This is such a dramatic change in our thinking, but as long as primary care providers, family practitioners, and pediatricians are familiar with these guidelines, they're fairly straight forward," said Dr. Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo, a pediatric allergist at UR Medicine.

She hopes the new guidelines lead to a reduction in peanut allergies, which affect about 2 percent of American children, but that will depend on how many parents follow the recommendation.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.
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