A new study suggests that the risk for developing an allergy to peanuts might be linked to exposure to peanuts in household dust.
A food allergy occurs when an individual's immune system mistakes a food protein for a foreign substance. The immune cells overreact to substances that are normally harmless. Trace amounts of food allergens may also trigger reactions in some patients. For instance, patients who are allergic to peanuts may develop an allergic reaction after eating food that has been manufactured in the same facility as peanuts. Some patients may develop an allergic reaction if a kitchen utensil touched a food allergen and then touched their food. It is also possible to have an allergic reaction after smelling food allergens.
In a new study, researchers sought to evaluate if exposure to peanuts in household dust affected the risk for a sensitivity or allergy to peanuts. Data on children with eczema 3-15 months-old from the Consortium of Food Allergy Research Observational Study was evaluated. In order to assess peanut sensitivity, peanut protein in household dust for each participant was evaluated.
The researchers found that the risk for testing positive for a peanut allergy increased with increasing amounts of peanut protein found in household dust, particularly in children with severe eczema, suggesting that exposure to peanut dust through the skin might be a factor.
The authors concluded that peanut allergy might be linked to exposure to peanut protein through the skin. Further research is warranted.
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