Peanut allergies are quite a scare, aren’t they? Parents have every right to take precautions to ensure their child doesn’t suffer from a reaction. But what about the other sibling?

A new study has found out that parents who have one child with a peanut allergy shield their other kids from peanuts when it’s not necessary, which actually increases the child’s risk to allergy.

Canadian researchers found that a large percentage of siblings of kids with documented peanut allergy were never exposed to peanuts and had been diagnosed as allergic without showing any signs of it.

Dr Elana Lavine, a pediatrician at Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto, who led the study states that almost half of the kids in the group had never been allergic to peanuts.

Dr Lavine also stated that even though the kids had been diagnosed as peanut allergic based on skin or blood testing, these tests were not perfect and could over-diagnose allergies.

She and her colleagues used the Canadian Peanut Allergy Registry to find information on 922 siblings of kids with a peanut allergy. The results showed that nine percent of these siblings had had an improper diagnosis.

Research conducted by Kaite Allen, a professor at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, shows that avoidance of a type of food can increase the risk of allergy towards it. Allen believes families should introduce allergens into the kid’s diet, starting with small quantities and gradually increasing them. They can begin with one-eighth teaspoon on the first day, followed by a quarter, and then half a teaspoon. This way, if the kid develops a reaction, it will be quite mild and easily diagnosed.

Parents should consult their physician before introducing allergens into their kid’s diet and physicians should be aware before diagnosing a kid. Start small and be smart when it comes to peanut allergies.

Content modified from Madeline Kennedy’s post on Reuters.