Eczema & Peanut Allergies
What’s the connection between peanut allergies and eczema?
It’s natural to wonder if food allergies can cause eczema, or if maybe the other way around is true; could eczema cause food allergies? What’s the relationship?
Studies have shown that there could be a relationship between eczema and peanuts. In fact, 23%* of infants with eczema have been tested to be allergic to peanuts, so there is certainly some level of connection.
Food allergies are extremely common in children with eczema. One does not necessarily cause the other—they are separate conditions—but there is a relationship. Having eczema does seem to increase the chances that you or your child may develop food sensitivities.
It comes down to the immune system. People with eczema suffer from weaker immune systems. The skin itself acts as a protective barrier, and people with eczema have broken skin barriers at the place of infection, which can leave them more susceptible to exposure to food irritation. Having early, direct skin contact with a highly allergic food like peanuts could cause the allergy to develop.
If first exposure to peanuts comes from oral consumption rather than through the skin, the immune system may actually be able to better tolerate the food and build up some defense. First exposure through the digestive tract is preferable than through the skin.
Peanut allergies can develop as early as 4 months of age. 23% of infants less than one year old who have eczema are also allergic to peanuts.
Introducing peanuts orally before the age of one can help to decrease the risk of developing an allergy.** A study called the The LEAP Study: (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) proposes that any child that is under the age of one and has already developed eczema should be skin tested for peanuts and if the test result is negative, a controlled medical peanut introduction could be considered. If the infant tolerates the peanut, they should then eat the equivalent to about 4 peanuts every week 3 times until the age of 5 to build up resistance. This should be done at the doctor's office.
Please also see our blog post, Untangling the Relationship Between Food Allergies and Eczema.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/peanut-roasted-nuclear-snac...