Every primary school teacher’s nightmare – a child eating something they are allergic to and, within minutes, reactions ranging from a rash to severe breathing problems or even life-threatening anaphylaxis. Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t that uncommon. Food allergies impact over 6% of American children and it is a pretty serious health concern across the country. Food allergies are usually discovered in early childhood and some continue into adulthood. But did you know that just 8 food items cause 90% of food allergies? It’s highly likely that the allergic reaction is to one of these 8 foods – milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, nuts, fish, and shellfish.1 The concentration on these 8 foods throws up an interesting possibility. Can the incidence of allergy be reduced by early exposure to these food items?
Before we get to the new theory, let’s have a look at the current standpoint. Food allergies or an adverse reaction
Does Starting Early Help?
Scientists in Canada set out to determine the relationship between feeding habits of infants and their sensitivity to certain foods. They collected data from 3 months age up to 24 months of age for the introduction of typical allergens like cow’s milk, peanuts, egg; exclusivity of mother’s milk up to 6 months;
There is no one specific test for food allergies. So it is a laborious process of elimination till you are left with the possible allergen. With an alarmingly high rate of incidence, food allergy needs to be tackled head on. And perhaps tackling it very early by introducing common allergens to children is the best choice yet. Do remember though that this is a paradigm shift from how currently food allergies are treated. So make it a point to consult your doctor/pediatrician first regarding the best course of allergy treatment.
|↑1||Food Allergen Labeling And Consumer Protection Act of 2004 Questions and Answers, FDA.|
|↑2||Høst, Arne, B. Koletzko, S. Dreborg, A. Muraro, U. Wahn, P. Aggett, J. L. Bresson et al. “Dietary products used in infants for treatment and prevention of food allergy. Joint Statement of the European Society for Paediatric Allergology and Clinical Immunology (ESPACI) Committee on Hypoallergenic Formulas and the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Committee on Nutrition.” Archives of Disease in Childhood 81, no. 1 (1999): 80-84.|
|↑3||Dai, W., Diana L. Lefebvre, Padmaja Subbarao, Allan B. Becker, Piushkumar J. Mandhane, Stuart E. Turvey, Wen-Yi Lou, Malcolm R. Sears, and M. M. Tran. “The Effects Of Infant Feeding Practices On Food Sensitization In A Canadian Birth Cohort.” In D31. NOVEL MECHANISMS OF ALLERGY AND AIRWAY INFLAMMATION, pp. A6694-A6694. American Thoracic Society, 2016.|
|↑4|| Venter, Carina, Veeresh Patil, Jane Grundy, Gill Glasbey, Syed H. Arshad, and Taraneh Dean. “Prevalence of Sensitisation to
|↑5||Moore, Louise, and Jackie Walters. “Food Allergies and Your Child.” (2009).|