Peanut, shrimp, dust, pollen, nut – the list is endless. More and more people are falling prey to allergies to seemingly unharming substances.
Why allergies happen
The immune system’s purpose is to recognize foreign invaders, such as bacteria and parasites, and reduce the threat of infection. The way the immune system accomplishes this is by recognizing what is foreign or abnormal. This is done through a complex process that produces millions of unique antibodies. In cases where the antibodies react to non-threatening proteins, such as those found in grass pollen, then allergy results. In a sense, allergy can be thought of as one extreme on a spectrum that has autoimmune disorders on the other. Health is the balance between the two where the immune response is always appropriate and controlled.
How reduce allergy risk in children
Children are more likely to be affected – between 6 and 8% of children are thought to have food allergies, compared with less than 3% of adults. Genetics and environment have a lot to play in your child developing allergies. Here are some ways in which you can boost your child’s immunity and prevent allergies as they age.
1. Say yes to common food allergens
Research in the past has indicated that subjecting young kids to allergens could lead to allergies as they grow. However, there is an increasing amount of evidence that, that
Breastfeeding your baby may help prevent the development of food allergy. Since breastfeeding is linked to many other health benefits, Health Canada recommends breastfeeding until 2 years of age and beyond
3. Let your kids play with pets
Recent studies suggest that pet exposure, particularly in early childhood, may have beneficial effects and may actually prevent the development of atopic disorders. Newer research also suggests children raised on farms develop fewer allergies and asthma. In this issue of the Journal, the longitudinal investigation by Mandhane and coworkers provides further evidence that exposure to the most common pets, cats and dogs, lowers the risk of developing allergic sensitization, not only in children but also in young adults