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Montefiore In Scarsdale Offers Preventative Service For Peanut Allergies

SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Montefiore Medical Specialists of Westchester in Scarsdale is offering a new preventative service for babies at high risk for peanut allergies who have eczema or food allergies in their families.

Food allergies are a growing problem in this country, affecting 15 million people, including 1 in 13 children. Peanut allergy is the top food allergy affecting children. In fact, peanut allergy has become the leading cause of anaphylaxis and death related to food allergy in the United States. An allergic reaction can cause hives, wheezing, swelling of lips, mouth, eyes or tongue, difficulty breathing or even loss of consciousness and death.

Based on a recent study that found early consumption of peanuts can prevent peanut allergy, the Food Allergy Center at Montefiore is offering parents of babies at approximately 4-5 months of age who have just started eating solid foods the opportunity to bring their babies to be introduced to peanuts. They will be given peanut butter to eat and will be watched for two hours. If they do not have a reaction, parents will be instructed to feed the babies small amounts of peanut butter -- about five teaspoons per week -- on a regular basis at home.

A recently published study found the prevalence of peanut allergies among children in London who were not given peanut-based products in the first year of life was 10 times as high as that among children in Israel who had consumed peanut-based products before their first birthday. This prospective, randomized trial clearly indicates the early introduction of peanuts dramatically decreases the risk of development of peanut allergy (approximately 70-80 percent).

This service is safe and very effective, but it is not a medication or a vaccine. It is merely introducing a food. Special appointments are being offered because time is of the essence.

The service is being offered at the two locations at Montefiore Medical Specialists of Westchester, 495 Central Park Ave, Scarsdale, and at the new Hutchinson Campus, 1250 Waters Place, the Bronx. For questions or to schedule an appointment, call 866-MED-TALK.

Find out more information about the Montefiore Food Allergy Center by visiting its website.

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