Food allergies in children are increasing dramatically.
According to foodallergy.org, there are now 5.9 million children in America that suffer from some food allergy. That is 1 in 13 children. Today when we are more aware of the food we eat than ever, this seems like an alarming number.
The question is why this is happening, and some studies may have some answers now. “There is much work going on in prevention to understand the weaning process better, and there’s much buzz around desensitization,” says Adam Fox, consultant pediatric allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals for The Guardian.
Desensitization means that you expose the patient to a minimal amount of the allergen, to make them used to it. However, this more treatment rather than a cure, and Fox describes for The Guardian that as soon as you stop exposing the patient to it again, the allergy comes back.
Allergies are increasing, now more than ever.
“If you think in terms of decades, are we seeing more food allergy now than we were 20 or 30 years ago? I think we can confidently say yes,” says Fox. “If you look at the research from the 1990s and early 2000s there is pretty good data that the amount of peanut allergy trebled in a concise period.” Says Fox for the Guardian.
People live a cleaner life
Senior author Dr. Kari Nadeau, director of the Sean N.Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University in California, says that allergies are on the rise because children are not exposed to it in the same way as before now when growing up. People live a cleaner life, she said. “We are not exposed to the farm, animals, and dirt. We know that if you have a dog at home during the first year of life, it protects you against allergies,” Nadeau says for Health24.
The Guardian also writes about a study done in 2008, where they tested children who’ve been avoiding peanuts compared to children in Israel who were often exposed to peanuts as babies, as snacks. Results showed that the kids exposed to the peanuts had meager rates of allergies.
However, it is advised to stick to the guidelines of the World Health Organization, where they promote that the first 6 months of a baby’s life, they should only be fed breastmilk. WHO also directs that after the first 6 months, you shouldn’t delay the introduction of allergenic foods such as peanuts and egg.