Posted on May 11, 2012 | Comments 0
Allergies can be very restrictive and problematic for kids. So avoiding allergies would be best if it were possible.
So what are the factors that influence whether a child will develop an allergy or not? Is there any way to prevent allergies in kids?
Amish farm kids have few allergies, finds study
A new study has found that children raised on rural farms in Amish communities in northern Indiana had remarkably few instances of asthma and allergies. Children raised on farms in central Europe are also seen to have very low allergy and asthma levels.
One possible explanation is the “Farm Effect” which hypothesizes that growing up on a farm exposed kids to certain microbes that made them resistant to allergies.
Drinking cow’s milk could also be one of the reasons for fewer allergies.
The immune system learns to recognize allergens and pathogens and can tell the harmful ones from the harmless ones.
It is possible that the mother’s exposures during pregnancy could also determine what the baby will or will not be allergic to later in life.
What you can do to prevent allergies and allergic reactions
The first thing that you can do to prevent allergies in kids is to breastfeed newborn babies and to continue to do so up to two years of age or even longer if possible.
Breast milk is the least likely to cause allergic reactions in kids and helps by strengthening the immune system.
There is also the theory that being around animals may reduce chances of the child developing allergies. This theory is in keeping with the “Farm Effect” that the above study speaks of. Having animals around when a child is growing up means that the child has certain exposures that could give protection against later allergy development.
Another way that one can help a child be protected against allergies is to let the child get a little dirty and enjoy a little mess. This is what the “hygiene hypothesis” tells us: that children who are exposed to common household allergens do better because their immune system is able to tell harmful substances from innocuous ones.
This goes against the belief that many allergists have, that avoidance of allergens is the best way to prevent allergies. The conventional view holds that you protect the child from dust, nuts and other common allergens whereas there is the opposite view that early allergen exposure is what will protect children later.
Posted in: Health & Safety