Allergies can be particularly stressful to children. Fortunately, medical researchers have found several unusual things you can try to lessen the chances of your child developing allergies, or lessen the effect of them on your child's health.
Researchers in Germany found that babies who slept on animal fur were less likely to develop allergies and asthma. This method was most effective for babies who were in the first three months of their lives. It is believed that the fur has microbes that helped to shield the babies. In essence, the early exposure to the germs from the fur helped the child's immune system to develop a resistance to allergens.
Food allergies in children can be especially troublesome since they can sometimes severely limit what can be eaten. The cause of food allergies have been attributed to a number of factors, but researchers have found another possible cause.
In one study, researchers found that skin that was inflamed or irritated that was exposed to food proteins was a possible contributing factor to the development of food allergies. For instance, a child who has a rash who comes into contact with foods, such as peanut butter, could develop an allergy to the food. Mice used in the study who were exposed to the food proteins developed severe reactions, including anaphylaxis.
It would be logical to believe that the dishwasher would help to reduce allergies since it is a cleaning appliance. In actuality, it might be contributing to the development of allergies.
A study conducted in Sweden showed that children who grew up in homes with a dishwasher were more likely to develop allergies. The theory is that the dishwasher helped to over-sanitize the home. As a result, a child living in the home is unable to build up his or her immune system against germs. When the child comes into contact with an allergen, instead of fighting it off, the child's body has an allergic reaction to it.
Children who lived in homes in which the dishes were hand washed not only had fewer allergies, but they also had lower rates of asthma and eczema.
Researchers are continuing to look for other possible causes of allergies in children. Before wrapping your baby in fur or ditching your dishwasher, talk to your child's pediatrician. The pediatrician can refer you to an allergist (like those at Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center) for testing and treatment if your child has developed allergies.