Skin exposure could be a contributing factor in the development of peanut allergies in children, a new study shows.
Research has linked early skin exposure to food allergens, such as peanuts, to becoming allergic before even consuming them, according to a study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital found that children could become allergic to peanuts before ever eating them as skin exposure to the allergens contributes to early skin sensitization, upon repeated exposure.
For the study, researchers exposed the skin of mice to extract of peanut protein. It was found that repeated exposure to peanut allergens led to sensitization and allergic reaction.
The researchers believe that if it is possible to identify how our immune system recognizes peanuts, it could lead to discovering how to prevent the food allergy. They hope that the data from the study might help to develop future treatments for food allergies as well as preventive measures.
Peanut allergies are estimated to affect approximately 400,000 school-aged children in the US, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and is one of the food allergens that is most commonly the cause of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions.)
Allergies are the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. and it is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 Americans suffer from allergies, a number that has been increasing since the early 1980s, according to the CDC.