Skin contact with peanut does not trigger a major reaction in peanut allergic children

A study reported in Clinical and Experimental Allergy (2007 Jun; 37(6): 839-45 17517097) set out to ‘determine the frequency with which peanut-sensitive children exhibited contact sensitivity to peanut butter and to assess the significance of such reactions.’ One gram of peanut butter was applied directly to the skin of 281 children who had skin prick tested positive to peanut, and left on the skin for 15 minutes.

Eighty-four of these children had also undergone an oral challenge eating graded amounts of peanut protein.

Only 41% of the children tested developed localised urticaria from the skin contact with peanut butter; 59% had no reaction. No child, including those who had had systemic (whole body) reactions to the oral challenge, had a systemic reaction to the prolonged skin exposure to peanut. Which suggests that systemic reactions as a result of touching peanut butter seem highly unlikely.

First published in January 2008

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