Did you know that in the 19th century, a common form of allergies, hay fever, was considered a rare condition? Today, approximately 30 percent of American adults and 40 percent of children are affected by allergic reactions, especially to foods. It just goes to show you the impact modern living has had on our sensitive immune systems.
Our immune system is designed to perceive and react to foreign elements. And, in the case of a food allergy, that can mean anything from breaking out in hives and sneezing to having trouble breathing and going into anaphylactic shock from accidentally eating a peanut or a shrimp.
If only there were ways to prevent food allergies besides depriving yourself of these triggers!
Fortunately, there are. New evidence suggests that tolerance to allergens develops naturally in early childhood and can be used to counter many common allergies.
Take, for example, the findings of the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study that early introduction of the food reduced the chances of allergy among 80 percent of the children already at high risk. That led to both the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend introducing peanuts into the diet of high-risk infants between the ages of 4 – 11 months.
In addition, researchers have uncovered numerous ways anyone, at any age, can help prevent food allergies from developing in the first place. These include:
· Reducing the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antibiotics. Aspirin and ibuprofen have been identified as food allergy enhancers in several studies.
- Preventing unnecessary cesarean section. Studies show that babies born by C-section are five times more likely to develop allergies and have an increased risk of developing food allergies during their first year of life.
- Taking a daily probiotic containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the third trimester of pregnancy. That includes providing developing babies with these substances during the first nine months of life if they were delivered by cesarean or if the mother took antibiotics during or after labor.
- Avoiding your exposure to environmental toxins. Chemicals in our air, soil, food, water, and household items have an adverse effect on our immune system and can lower vitamin D levels, making us more susceptible to food and other allergies.
- Changing the way your food is processed or prepared. For example, you can make dairy products less allergenic by heating them. Baking eggs has the same effect. In addition, fruits and vegetables become less allergenic when cooked. The opposite is true of peanuts, which are more likely to trigger an allergic reaction if they are roasted.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a link between obesity and allergies. Systemic inflammation that is commonly experienced by overweight individuals contributes to the development of food allergies.
- Supplementing with vitamin D. This nutrient plays an essential role in immune system function and studies have shown that low vitamin D increases the risk of allergic sensitization. However, you won’t get enough vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, eggs or dairy products alone. Check with your doctor for the recommended dosage before taking a supplement.
Food Allergy Treatment in Fairless Hills, PA
At Patient Care Now, our physicians are dedicated to delivering high-quality and experienced care to patients. Your health is our priority. As a commitment to your health and well-being, we provide preventive and wellness services, as well as care for many forms of allergies.
If you have any questions, give us a call at (267) 202-6433. Our clinic is open seven days a week. Simply check-in online to let us know you are coming – or stop by unannounced, appointments are not necessary!