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Your Top Allergy Questions Answered

Your Top Allergy Questions Answered

How can you protect your baby from potential food allergies? Are allergies genetic? Does breastfeeding reduce the likelihood of developing food allergies? In this article, we will tackle your top allergy questions and debunk any common myths regarding babies and allergy development.

My husband and I have food allergies; will my baby develop the same food allergies as well?
While research shows there’s a genetic component to allergies, there is no guarantee that your child will develop the same food allergies you suffer from. It is important to note that while most allergies develop in childhood, many food allergies start at later ages. Make sure you inform your pediatrician of your family’s allergy history to avoid allergic reactions.

Does breastfeeding reduce the odds of developing allergies?
Breastfed babies are less likely to develop allergies due to the quality of human milk. Human milk is known to boost immunity levels and protect the body against illnesses. In contrast, bottle-fed babies have lower immunity levels. Pediatricians recommend breastfeeding exclusively until your baby is 6 months of age and supplementing breast milk with solid foods until 1 year of age.

Is a certain amount of allergens needed to trigger an allergic response in my baby?
When it comes to food allergies, you cannot predict what amount ingested will trigger the immune response. Some babies do not react until they’re exposed to the concentrated solid substance; others do not react until they’ve been exposed several days to an allergen. For such reasons, pediatricians recommend introducing solid foods gradually and waiting 3-5 days between each new food item. You can check solid food introduction guidelines here.

Will doctors even be able to cure food allergies?
New experimental treatments are using the technique of “sublingual therapy” where tiny amounts of the allergen are introduced into the body gradually such as under the tongue, in order to reduce the body’s allergic response to that allergen. This treatment; however, remains very risky at this stage and pediatricians do not recommend introducing allergens to your baby’s diet – regardless of how small.

If my baby is allergic to one food, is he/she likely to develop other food allergies?
Studies show that children who are allergic to a certain food item are more vulnerable to new food allergies. If food allergies are present, pediatricians recommend introducing milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish, peanuts and strawberries gradually to test for possible allergic reactions. Your pediatrician will recommend the best course of action on how you should introduce these food items to your child’s daily diet.

Will my baby outgrow his/her food allergies?
Many children outgrow their food allergies by the age of 5, others continue to be severely allergic to certain foods. It is worth mentioning that many adults who’ve previously outgrown their childhood allergies may exhibit allergic reactions during adulthood. As a result, pediatricians recommend being cautious with possible allergens regardless of the child’s age.

Is it true that honey is an allergen?
Honey is not classified as an allergen. Nonetheless, pediatricians advise not exposing children under 12 months to honey due to the presence of the clostridium botulinum bacteria in honey. Your baby’s immune system is still growing during the first year and may not be able to fight off a bacterial infection.

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