(WEAU)--The number of kids with food allergies in the U.S is on the rise. The National Institute of Health studied children between 1997 and 2007 and found the number of kids diagnosed with a food allergy rose 18%.
Now doctors are releasing new guidelines on how and when to introduce those highly allergenic foods.
The new recommendations suggest parents introduce allergenic foods between four and six months of age, which is a complete reversal from prior American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, which stated parents should wait until age three to begin these foods.
“We thought by delaying the introduction of high allergenic foods that we would be preventing food allergies and it hasn't made a difference,” said Dr. Adela Taylor with Mayo Clinic Health System.
Taylor says parents should still introduce their kids to first to standard foods like fruits and vegetables. But, she says having your kids try highly allergenic foods like shell fish, milk products, peanut butter and tree nuts earlier may prevent some allergy or give a child a head start in treatment.
“This was completely new for us neither of us have a history of food allergies,” said Lisa Johnson.
Lisa and Jeremy Johnson have five children, their six-year-old and two-year-old sons both suffer from severe food allergies.
“Just if the food is prepared around nuts or eggs is enough to give our sons’ a reaction. An allergic reaction can be fatal,” said Lisa.
That's why doctors say it's so important parents follow advice.
“When you introduce a new food start with use a taste amount,” said Taylor.
Taylor says a taste amount is less than a half a teaspoon. She if you believe your child is having a food allergy reaction seek medical attention right away.