Allergic reactions to foods can be a nightmare for parents, even tragic in some cases.
New guidelines released Thursday by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases suggest giving small doses of peanuts to children at an early age may help them avoid allergies later in life.
At Little Explorers Child Care in Holt, snack time may seem like an easy process however it can be quite complex.
“I’ve had some children allergic to peanuts, eggs, soy, and milk as well,” said Amy Metts, owner and operator of Little Explorers Child Care in Holt. “We tailor what we're doing around each individual.”
With 10 years of experience, Metts knows how to handle food allergies by avoiding it all together.
“If we have peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we have a ham and cheese sandwich or something that like for someone who is allergic,” said Metts.
Experts now suggest there is no need to avoid highly allergic foods. Instead, introduce those foods to children as early as four to six months old after they've been introduced to other solid foods.
Evidence also shows that avoiding potentially allergic foods may increase a child's risk of allergies.
Doctor Dave Gutpa at Gupta Allergy in Lansing says it's always best to be prepared.
“A patient with a life threatening food allergy needs to carry their epinephrine auto injector at all times because even if they're being very careful, there is always a risk of cross contamination or other unexpected exposures,” said Gupta.
At places such as daycare, you can never be too careful.
“This is a big thing, this is a child’s life and you know and we really need to take that seriously,” said Metts.
Gupta says it's always a good idea to have a conversation with your child's doctor, before introducing potentially allergic foods.
The Food Allergy Research and Education organization has a made a Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan form available for you to have your doctor fill out.
Gupta say’s it’s a good idea to have a form like it on hand in case of an emergency.
According to Kids with Food, one in 13 children in the United States have a food allergy. Between 1997 and 2011, the percentage of children with a food allergy increased about 50%.