To Your Health
March, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 03)
Preventing Food Allergies
By Editorial Staff
Food allergies, most commonly to milk, eggs, soy, wheat, tree nuts, shellfish or peanuts, can cause severe reactions and, at a minimum, make daily life a challenge. According to recent research, breast-feeding during a newborn's first three months of life helps shield children from developing these types of food allergies.
In a statement by Dr. Robin Wood, international health director for pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, she said, "A review of 18 studies demonstrates a significant protective effect of exclusive breast-feeding for at least three months for children with high risk atopy (genetic tendency to develop allergic diseases) against the development of atopic dermatitis and early childhood asthma-like symptoms."
For children at high risk for allergies, Dr. Wood provides the following suggestions to parents:
- During pregnancy and breast-feeding, avoid peanuts and tree nuts.
- Use a hypoallergenic formula (extensively or partially hydrolyzed) to supplement breast-feeding.
- Hold off on feeding solid foods until 6 months of age.
- Introduce egg and milk only after age 1, and peanut and tree nuts only after age 3.
Take steps to intervene as early as possible when food allergy symptoms appear.