Researchers in Australia have found encouraging data to suggest that recently introduced infant feeding guidelines that include recommendations for early allergen introduction may be slowing the rate of food allergy anaphylaxis hospital admissions.
In a paper published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Mullins et al. compared food anaphylaxis admission rates in three time periods: (1) when delayed introduction of allergenic foods was recommended (1998-1999 and 2006-2007); (2) when this recommendation was withdrawn (2007-2008 and 2014-2015); (3) when guidelines for early allergen introduction were introduced (2015-2016 and 2018-2019).
While anaphylaxis admissions have continued to climb across all age groups, the rate of year-over-year increases in admissions due to food anaphylaxis has slowed after updated allergy prevention guidelines were implemented.
Study authors also highlight barriers to further decreasing food allergy rates. Notably, they underscore that allergens must be fed early and consumed regularly to see benefit. They also point to the difficulty of feeding many different food allergens, stating that, “early introduction of cow's milk, egg and peanut will not prevent the development of allergy to other allergenic foods such as sesame seed, tree nuts or seafood.”
While a true cause-and-effect relationship cannot be established, this study points to a possible real-world benefit from the new guidelines.
Mullins RJ, Dear KBG, Tang MLK. Changes in Australian food anaphylaxis admission rates following introduction of updated allergy prevention guidelines [published online ahead of print, 2022 Jan 22]. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2022;S0091-6749(22)00081-1. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2021.12.795