Friday, September 25, 2015

The ACS Reminds Parents of the Risk of Exposing Children to Peanuts

Dr. James Freije, a diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology, provides high-quality medical care to patients as an otolaryngology head and neck surgery associate at Mount Nittany Physician Group. Dedicated to staying abreast of developments within his field, Dr. James Freije belongs to several professional organizations including the American College of Surgeons.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS), an educational and scientific organization dedicated to raising surgical standards, recently released an advisory to parents against exposing young children and babies to peanuts. The advisory was made in response to news about how exposure to peanuts in infancy may prevent peanut allergies in adulthood. According to the advisory, news coverage does not properly illustrate the risks involved in this exposure.

Although having a desire to prevent a food allergy seems positive, the ACS’ advisory reminds parents that peanuts are one of the leading causes of choking in infants and toddlers. Due to the undeveloped coordination of the swallowing muscles as well as the lack of molars in infants, it’s unlikely that peanuts will be chewed enough before being swallowed. It is also possible that the peanut will enter the lungs rather than the stomach, causing serious breathing problems.

If parents wish to expose their infants to peanuts, it is safest to go through with the exposure while at a physician’s office. This allows for careful monitoring of the child and ensures the child is treated quickly if a problem arises. Additionally, exposing the child to smooth peanut butter is best instead of exposing them to whole peanuts since it eliminates the risk of choking and blockages.                            

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