Infant immune systems positively affected by early introduction to food allergens, avoidance of “over-bathing”

In the past, introducing solid food was recommended only after 6 months of age, however, new research from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) presented at the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting, suggests new guidelines for food introductions to improve immune systems later in life. “There is now a large body of observation and trial data for other foods, including egg, that show that delaying the introduction of allergenic solids increases the risk of those particular food allergies,” said Katrina Allen, MBBS, PhD, from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. However, it should be noted, none of the research suggests introducing eggs earlier in life. New official guidelines will be issued in 2017, recommending introduction of potential allergens such as peanuts and cow’s milk at age 4-6 months. In addition, the researchers reported that children with a damaged skin barrier – like eczema – are at increased risk of developing a peanut allergy. They theorize that over-bathing, especially with soaps containing harsh detergents, may damage natural infant-skin immune protections. The take home message? “Don’t soap the baby”.