Preventing Allergies

Are you likely to be susceptible to allergies?

Some ways of preventing allergies are out of your control. For instance, if you are born into a family which has no prior history of having allergies then you are much less likely to develop them yourself. Studies have also shown that the larger a family you have, the less likely you are to suffer from allergies – for example, if you have upwards of two sisters and/or brothers. Similarly, research has been conducted which discovered a link between growing up on a livestock farm and a resistance to developing allergies. These facts can therefore be used more as indicators as to whether you are likely to develop allergies rather than as proactive preventative measures.

Preventative measures to take

Regardless of your age, it is a good idea to ensure that you have a large amount of vitamins C and E in your diet. Omega-3 polyunsaturated oils are also widely beneficial, not just in the prevention of allergies developing, and can be found in fish oil.

Preventative measures to take for your child

There are a few things that new mothers can do to minimise the likelihood of their child developing allergies, particularly towards food. Try and introduce good probiotic bacteria into the baby’s diet as early as possible as this can help increase tolerance. While breastfeeding, it seems that mothers who avoid nuts, eggs and cow’s milk tend to have children without, or with fewer, allergies. Similarly, by breastfeeding for longer, the introduction of cow’s milk-based formula is delayed, and the child is less likely to develop an allergy towards it and other dairy-based products as a result.

Research is ongoing and currently inconclusive, but it does also appear that there is a link between breastfeeding and the reduction of allergies in general. It is clear that breastfeeding minimises children developing food allergies, but there is also a possible link to preventing asthma and inhalant allergies. By breastfeeding, the mother transfers IgA antibodies to the infant which offer an early form of resistance to outside foreign substances, particularly those which can irritate breathing passages and the digestive tract.

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