Skip to content

    Eczema Health Center

    Font Size

    Eczema, Peanut Allergy May Be Linked

    Study Shows 23% of Infants With Eczema Are Sensitive to Peanuts
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    March 1, 2010 (New Orleans) -- Infants with eczema are at high risk of having peanut and other food allergies, British researchers report.

    "We were shocked to find out that even in the first year of life, over 20% of infants with eczema already were sensitized [showed susceptibility] to peanut allergy," says Graham Roberts, MD, a pediatric allergist at King's College London.

    Roberts tells WebMD that by the time they enter school, children with eczema have a high rate of peanut allergies.

    "But we didn't know how early the peanut allergy started; we thought may at 3, 4, or 5 years of age," he says.

    The new research suggests peanut allergy develop much earlier, Roberts says.

    The study involved 640 infants aged 4-11 months with eczema.

    The researchers measured blood levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE), an immune system protein the body makes in response to allergens. A positive result means a person is sensitive to and likely to be allergic to a certain food.

    The results showed:

    • 23% of the infants were sensitive to peanuts.
    • 31% were sensitive to cow's milk.
    • 22% were sensitive to sesame.
    • 16% were sensitive to Brazil nuts.
    • 20% were sensitive to hazel nuts.
    • 21% were sensitive to cashews.
    • 14% were sensitive to almonds.

    Sixteen percent of the infants tested positive for more than four foods.

    The findings were presented here at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

    New Food Allergy Theory Being Tested

    Roberts says this is the first step in an ongoing study designed to test the hypothesis that giving infants foods to which they are sensitized will prevent allergies later in life.

    "Right now, people are told to avoid the food they're allergic to. Our hypothesis is that by introducing the food into the diet early on, the body will see it as normal and won't become allergic to it. We're questioning a fundamental preconception," he says.

    In the ongoing study, infants with eczema who test positive for sensitivity to peanuts are being divided into two groups; half get peanuts in their diets and half don't. The researchers will compare the rates of peanut allergies in the two groups when the kids reach school age.

    Today on WebMD

    woman meditating
    Learn how to deal with a key trigger: stress.
    Getting your eczema under control?
    man with eczema
    Does it affect your eczema?
    makeup brushes and foundation
    And be educated when shopping for cosmetics.
    Antipsychotic Drugs Blood Clots
    Eczema Emotional Effects
    young woman touching skin
    Eczema on arm

    Itching for Relief?

    Get Help With the

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.