of hypersensitivity reaction to any foreign objects that is initiated by the
immune system. The most common disease form seen due to food allergy is atopic dermatitis
Early form of atopic dermatitis
is seen as eczema or scaly and itchy rashes. Young ones develop various
allergic forms when introduced to different food.
A survey was done among the pediatricians
and dietitians in British Columbia regarding the complementary food
introduction and exposure to food allergy. Opinions were gathered from both
groups about ingestion of peanuts and forms of milk other than breast milk in
age groups below 1 year. Survey questions were based on
recommendations in the 2008 AAP statement on introduction of complementary
The study, published in the journal
Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, also focused on how pediatricians
and dietitians counseled parents on the introduction of food and whether there
was any difference between advice offered by the two specialists.
Majority of pediatricians and dietitians
believed peanuts caused no harm in pregnant or feeding mothers. Breast milk was
recommended by both the groups for first four months to avoid atopic
dermatitis. If infants showed allergic symptoms to breast milk then
pediatricians suggested the use of partially
hydrolyzing formula while dietitians preferred hydrolyzing formula to
replace breast milk. The third option for both groups was cow's milk.
So, 'with the exception
of breastfeeding advice and delay of allergenic foods, pediatricians and
dietitians of British Columbia generally agree in their advice and adhere to
the 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines', say the authors.
Therefore, the study reinforced the fact
that avoidance of complementary food for the first four to six months of age reduced severe
reaction in young children and prevented early gut exposure that can cause
sensitization and allergy. First four months of breast-feeding definitely
reduced atopic dermatitis. Partially hydrolyzed formula is recommended for
infants with breast milk allergy.
The researchers thus concluded that
although solid foods (complementary foods) should not be introduced before 4 -
6 months of age, delaying their introduction beyond this period has no
significant protective effect on the development of food allergy such as atopic