Q: My daughter has developed an egg allergy at 12 months. At the appointment where tests confirmed this, the allergist mentioned being “mindful of possible peanut allergy.” I’m confused: are these two allergies related? And what can I do to be careful?
Dr. Watson: Your daughter is an age where new food allergies can develop. I think the allergist has mentioned the peanut allergy because children with an egg allergy may be at higher risk of developing other food allergies. That said, there is new evidence which may be of interest to you.
There is research called the LEAP Study which looked at infants at a high risk for peanut allergy because they had a diagnosed egg allergy, severe eczema, or both.
In this study, they were tested for peanut allergy, and then divided into two groups: those who were regularly fed peanut (in a snack) and those who completely avoided it. By the age of 5 years, only 3 percent of the children eating peanut regularly developed a peanut allergy, compared to 17 percent of the avoidance group.
Given this information, I would have a discussion with your allergist about the need for testing to peanut. If your daughter is tested and the test is negative, I would recommend introduction of peanut as soon as possible. As always, a reminder that any child with a food allergy should have an epinephrine auto-injector available at all times.
Dr. Wade Watson is a pediatric allergist and Professor of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University. He is also the head of the Division of Allergy at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.