This research project is a retrospective case controlled study investigating the role of infant's environmental peanut exposure on later allergy.
<p>This is a retrospective questionnaire based study. Information on environmental exposure in the first year of life will be gathered and used for comparisons in children with peanut allergy, normal children and high-risk children (egg allergic) who do not have peanut allergy.
<p>It is anticipated that information on 150 individuals will be obtained from the questionnaire.
In June 1998 the Department of Health (DH) published recommendations aimed at halting the rising incidence of peanut allergy.
<p>This guidance was based on the conclusion that peanut sensitization occurring as a result or exposure in utero or via lactation was mechanistically possible.
<p>Most presentations of peanut allergy occur on the first known contact the child has had with peanut. The route by which sensitisation occurs is unclear.
<p>The possibilities are that sensitization is occurring in utero, via breast milk or via indirect low dose environmental exposure.
<p>Much work has focused on maternal consumption of allergen (during pregnancy or lactation) yet interventional studies have failed to demonstrate any benefit of dietary elimination.
<p>Recent data is supportive of the possibility of sensitization through low dose cutaneous exposure as a result of the application of arachis oil containing creams to inflamed skin.
<p>This study aims to quantify the exposure to environmental allergen during the allergic child's infancy. Environmental peanut exposure can occur through a variety of ways as well as the application of peanut-containing creams.
<p>Other important environmental components include the peanut consumption of all household members and the cutaneous contact and vapour inhalation that can result from this.
<p>If sensitisation is occurring through environmental exposure, this has important implications for current DH guidance on peanut avoidance and future allergy prevention studies.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.