According to a new study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting this month, children from affluent families are more likely to develop life-threatening peanut allergies than are those from lower-income families.
According to the study, this may be partially due to their lower exposure to germs in early childhood, which may mean their immune systems are under-stimulated.
“That’s one of the theories that people suspect may be contributing to the increased prevalence of allergies,” Dr. Stanley Fineman, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, told TakePart. “The study adds a little bit of fuel to that fire.”
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The study looked at a total of 8,300 people and found 800 with elevated antibody levels to peanuts.
The study’s lead author, U.S. Air Force Major Sandy Yip, M.D., stated that from birth to age 9, household income is directly associated with incidents of peanut sensitization, but at age 10, the link isn’t as clear. The study did not dilineate between those with life-threatening sensitivity and those with milder sensitivity.