Preventing the Development of Childhood Allergies
As a population, we are becoming more and more susceptible to the development of allergies and allergy related conditions like asthma. The number of children diagnosed with some form of these conditions each year continues to increase, creating a problem that has resulted in a very real visibility for these diseases. The benefit has been that there is now more scientific work being done on the subject than ever before.
This blossoming of studies and research has been the result of a pressing desire to better treat and understand allergies. In some ways, the attempt at understanding has been very successful. We have much more information at our disposal than we have ever had before. Unfortunately, we are still working to understand much of this information. Until we do, the question of allergy prevention will remain largely unanswered.
The State of Allergy Studies
The current allergy research is all over the map in its attempts to make some sense of the condition. The difficulties arise in part because of the relationship of allergies to the human immune system. Though we have a rough picture of the workings of the immune system, it is by no means complete. We still have no idea why the immune system might suddenly be triggered to attack the body, causing an autoimmune condition like an allergy. Without understanding the trigger, it is difficult to find a way to prevent the allergy from developing.
There have been numerous studies performed in an attempt to identify and understand these potential triggers, but the results are largely inconclusive at this time. We have hints about allergy prevention, but they can be contradictory at best and just plain wrong at worst.
The State of Allergy Prevention
What we know right now is that if you are going to prevent the development of allergies, then you need to take action in your child's early years. The best strategy we have against allergies is to reduce childhood exposure to allergens. With every exposure to an allergen, an affected child's reaction worsens and becomes more dangerous. As exposures are limited or even stopped entirely, however, children are able to discharge the antibodies that have formed in response to allergen exposure. If the child is kept from the allergen long enough, then he or she might improve to a point where their blood had no antibodies whatsoever, effectively resetting the severity of their reactions. This is not a cure, but it can improve the child's health and well-being.
Current prevention wisdom suggests then, that if a child is not exposed to a potential allergen during their earlier and more sensitive years that the allergic reaction might not appear at all. This is difficult to prove, but many experts recommend against introducing common allergy foods like seafood, peanuts, and tree nuts into your child's diet before two to three years of age none the less. If you are looking to reduce your child's chances of developing allergies, then consider talking to your doctor for a medical recommendation.
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