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Tags: peanut | allergy | affluent

Peanut Allergies Common Among Wealthy

Friday, 16 November 2012 10:30 AM EST

Peanut allergies are on the rise among American kids and children in affluent families appear to be at much greater risk, new research finds.
The study findings — presented at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) this week — support the "hygiene hypothesis" many allergists believe may be the culprit in the rise in allergies in the U.S. The hypothesis suggests a lack of early childhood exposure to germs increases the risk of developing for allergies and that over sanitization might suppress the natural development of the immune system.
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"Overall household income is only associated with peanut sensitization in children aged 1 to 9 years," said allergist Dr. Sandy Yip, the study’s lead researcher and an ACAAI member. "This may indicate that development of peanut sensitization at a young age is related to affluence, but those developed later in life are not."
The study involved 8,306 patients, 776 of whom were allergic to peanuts. In addition to finding allergies are more common in children in higher-income homes, the researchers found males and racial minorities are at greatest risk and that allergies peak between of 10 and 19 years of age, but taper off after middle age.
"While many children can develop a tolerance to food allergens as they age, only 20 percent will outgrow a peanut allergy," said allergist Dr. Stanley Fineman, ACAAI president. "It's important that children remain under the care of a board-certified allergist to receive treatment."
According to the ACAAI, peanut allergy affects 400,000 children. Experts recommend that allergic individuals be careful in restaurants, where peanuts may appear as a hidden ingredient in sauces and foods. Those with food allergies should also carry epinephrine in the event of an emergency.

© HealthDay

Peanut allergies are on the rise among American kids and affluent families face greater risks.
Friday, 16 November 2012 10:30 AM
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