Why do allergies in children continue to climb?
As with most diseases, there is always a combination of factors involved. There are airborne allergens such as ragweed, pollen, pet dander, mold and dust mites which are the source of more allergic reactions than any other type of allergen. Then there’s insect stings which I find the most scary since you don’t know your allergic until you are stung. The first sign is difficulty breathing in which case call 911 immediately because anaphylaxis shock can be fatal and the only treatment is epinephrine which requires an epi pen.
Then there’s food allergies such as milk, peanuts and seafood. Although genetics is a small percent of most allergies, a child who has one parent with allergies will have a 40 percent chance of developing allergies. If both parents have allergies, then the odds jump to 70 percent! The bad news is that 60 percent of allergy sufferers will likely develop asthma at some point.
Asthma is caused by an allergen entering the body. When this happens, your immune system identifies it as something harmful. Your immune system responds by releasing a substance called immunoglobulin E or IgE which plays the key role in the development of allergic symptoms. It causes the release of chemicals that lead to swelling in the lungs and can trigger an asthma attack. When I was in grammar school, everyone in the lunch room ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and drank chocolate milk and I never remember any of my friends having allergies to peanuts or milk or having asthma carrying inhalers.
So how do you know if your child has a food allergy or can my baby be allergic to milk?
Most babies have trouble digesting milk. Cow’s milk is basically the perfect nutrition for baby cows but not for babies, although we continue to drink milk as a source for nutrition. Babies who are allergic to cow’s milk protein will also show allergy symptoms like hives, a rash, runny nose or wheezing. These aren’t seen in lactose intolerance since this condition doesn’t involve the immune system. When my daughter was only two years old, she was having chronic ear infections. She had no rash or any signs of a milk allergy, but after 6 months of several rounds of antibiotics which only temporarily helped her ear infections, I decided to remove cows milk from her diet. I tried goats milk which took time for her to adjust to, but eventually she loved it! Her ear infections went away completely and I was hooked on changing to a more healthy diet for my kids. If your child is constantly sick or has diarrhea, chances are that it’s something they are eating that doesn’t agree with them. Keep a food diary for a week or two and see if there is a trigger food that causes their digestive system to become irritated.
So what else has changed?
All foods from soup to nuts, peanuts that is!
More than one million children living in America suffer from peanut allergies. Prior to the 1900s, despite the fact that people have been eating peanuts for ages, why do so many people have peanut allergies today? Many vaccines and antibiotic drugs contain peanut oil. It is an inexpensive oil to produce and became widely used as an excipient (adhesive substance to help form medication) in the production of vaccines during the 1960’s. Peanut derived excipients are still believed to be used in the production of drugs today. Although peanut allergies became fairly common during the 1980’s, it wasn’t until the early 1990’s when there was a sudden surge of children reacting to peanuts. Ingesting the same food over and over can cause a food allergy!
Can food allergies be prevented?
The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study that supported earlier research suggesting that feeding solid foods to young babies could promote allergies. It recommends against introducing solid foods to babies younger than 18 weeks. Especially the highly allergic foods such as nuts and seafood until after the age of 3. I started my first child on solid foods at 6 months of age and remember how much criticism I got from my parents always wanting to feed my baby solid foods.You have to be your babies advocate since each child is completely different and you know your baby best!
Another great way to start forming your babies’ immune system is to Breastfeed. Breastfeed for as long as possible, but it’s probably one of the most controversial issues. Breast milk is good for your baby in many ways. It provides natural antibodies that help your baby resist illnesses and it’s usually more easily digestable than formula. When I gave birth to my son, I was shocked by how little information and support there was in the hospital after delivery. There was no such thing as a Lactation Consultant, so after about three weeks of no successful nursing, I became frustrated and basically gave up! Luckily my baby at least got a few weeks of the important early antibodies from the colostrum. This is clearly a personal decision and I could not find any information supporting that breastfed babies had less allergies than formula fed babies, so if Mom is happy, the baby will thrive on her positive energy! If you do decide to breastfeed, please find a coach since it does require support from a Mom who has been through the early postpardum stages of no sleep, constant visitors and a crying baby that you feel is not getting enough nutrition.
Then there is the “hygiene hypothesis”
This can make our immune systems more vulnerable. These days, I see parent’s constantly applying sanitizing gel to their kid’s hands to sterilize them after any exposure to public places such as the playground and the food store limiting their kids to their exposure to bacteria. The eye opener for me was learning that farm raised children were found to have less allergies, asthma and hay fever then children who never spent any time on a farm. In fact, the children that have never been on a farm were three times as likely to develop allergies and asthma. Dr. James Gern, a childhood allergy researcher at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine says “People have grown up with animals in an outdoor environment for eons and our immune systems are tuned to developing normally in that sort of environment”. The plus here is what child doesn’t like to pet a goat or a sheep and spend a wonderful day out at a petting zoo?
Find a Homeopathic pediatrician that will focus on wellness more than illness.
After meeting a Mom who had the same belief as I did with Western medicine, I made an appointment with a Homeopathic doctor named John Genco. He was a pediatrician, but after his daughter developed asthma, he decided to become a homeopathic doctor and continues to practice in Rumson, New Jersey.
john J. Genco
call for an appointment
Another factor is that corn, wheat and soy, have become the number one ingredient in almost everything we eat.
In 2009, the Federal Government paid $12.3 billion to America’s farmers to grow those 3 crops. Even as farmers profit from the increased demand for their crops, the government remains a major player in the food business. Why would a farmer choose to plant broccoli or lettuce when the government will essentially insure their corn, wheat and soybean crops, paying them back if the market prices fall below a set floor price?
Even without the ethanol supports, corn runs away with the title as the #1 food the government pays you to consume. Instead, it’s the direct result of government food subsidies, which favor the foods you should eat less of if you want to stay healthy. As you know, a loaf of bread or an ear of corn is cheaper than a head of cauliflower at $4.00 or a pint of blueberries at a whopping $5.00 a pint. So what should you eat? Start slow replacing unhealthy foods with better veggies. Cut up carrots and put in baggies for on the go and I keep mixed nuts with cranberries in my car for when I’m hungry not stopping at a fast food joint in a hunger panic. I have a great recipe for cauliflower soup that even my kids love in my recipe section. The more we buy organic vegatables and make healthier choices, our voice is being heard by our dollers spent and the government will change their subsidies. Our kids will also start having less allergies creating a healthier immune system through their diet!
Educate yourself with the article below “The 9 foods the government is paying you to eat” by Dr. Mercola. It’s very interesting!
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