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Continued Rise of Childhood Food Allergies
The incidence of food allergies has been increasing rapidly in recent years. Some of the most common allergenic foods include soy, eggs, milk, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts. Most food allergies appear early during childhood, particularly allergies to milk, nuts, and eggs. Many children that are allergic to peanuts, eggs, and milk will outgrow the allergy, and eventually be able to consume these foods normally. Approximately five percent of children in America experience food allergies, which is an increase from three percent of American children being affected ten years ago. In addition, skin allergies, such as eczema, have increased in recent years. At the same time, scientists have not noticed an increase in allergic rhinitis, or allergies that affect the respiratory tract in children. This difference is most likely because allergic rhinitis develops later than food allergies and skin allergies.

There are many potential reasons why food allergies are on the rise in children. The most commonly held idea regarding the cause of allergies is the hygiene hypothesis. The hygiene hypothesis states that the increased sanitation and hygiene in developed nations means that young infants and children are not exposed to as many parasites, including helminthic worms. If the developing immune system is not exposed to these parasites, then it will not produce an adaptive response against the parasite. Instead, the developing immune cells may begin to recognize ordinarily harmless proteins as being foreign invaders. These proteins are termed allergens, as they cause the allergic response to be initiated by the immune system.

This hypothesis is supported by the fact that many allergies are mediated by a type of CD4+ helper T cell term T helper 2 (Th2) cells. Th2 cells normally play a role in defending the host against large, extracellular pathogens, such as worms. When the Th2 cells are improperly activated by harmless particles such as food proteins, the result is an allergic response. In addition, certain white blood cells are activated by IgE antibodies. All of these components of the immune system are normally activated to help remove pathogens. However, activation by an allergen, instead of protecting the host, can cause allergic symptoms that can potentially be life-threatening. The symptoms manifested will be determined by the route of introduction of the allergen. For example, inhaled allergens, such as pollen, will initiate a response in the upper respiratory tract, causing runny nose, sneezing, and possible breathing problems. Food allergies will begin in the digestive tract, but symptoms can quickly be distributed systemically by the immune response. Contact allergies will appear on the skin, as rashes or hives.

While the hygiene hypothesis offers an explanation of why allergies in general are on the rise, it does not explain how specific people develop specific allergies. Some families seem to have a higher prevalence of food allergies than others, indicating a possible genetic component. Many families that have a history of food allergies tend to be cautious about introducing allergenic foods into their children’s diets. The American Association of Pediatricians recently updated recommendations on introducing food to children to help reduce the risk of allergies. Originally, pregnant and nursing women with a familial history of food allergies were advised against eating foods such as eggs, milk, nuts and shellfish. In addition, the AAP suggested that introduction of foods containing these allergens be delayed in at-risk children. The new guidelines have changed all of these recommendations. Research demonstrates that maternal diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as the timing of introducing allergenic foods, has had little effect on the development of childhood food allergies. The AAP now only recommends waiting until a child is four to six months old to begin introducing solid foods. The only recommendation that did not change was that mothers try to breastfeed as long as possible. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first four to six months has been linked to a lower risk of food allergies. However, when mothers are unable to breastfeed, the AAP recommends that children at high risk for developing food allergies be fed formula that has been extensively hydrolyzed, meaning the proteins have been broken down more than in regular formulas.

As the prevalence of food allergies continues to rise in children, researchers and clinicians must find ways to test for the likelihood of developing allergies, and learn how to help those children who have already developed allergies. Some food allergies can very severe, potentially even lethal, so parents and caregivers must be aware of these potential effects. By studying the causes of food allergies in children, scientists might be able to prevent or treat these severe allergies, taking away at least one major source of anxiety for parents.

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If one in all your kids is full of such allergic conditions and you're expecting a second kid, you would possibly preferably be involved concerning preventing such tendencies within the nevertheless to born. excellent news for you is that there square measure ways that to forestall such allergic tendencies that square measure arising to be hereditary. though you'll not fully cure it there square measure possibilities for you to forestall such tendencies in future. the primary step within the right direction would be to search out out whether or not you kid has some high risks.
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Continued Rise of Childhood Food Allergies00