Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Intervention of Allergy

Category: Lagniappe - a little extra



At the recent American Academy of Allergy International Convention in New York City, Dr. Bjorksten of Sweden analyzed all of the studies on how to prevent allergies. He felt that by far the most important allergen and irritant in our environment which is increasing allergy suffering world-wide is cigarette smoke. He highly recommended getting cigarette smoke out of homes particularly with children who have allergies and other indoor places where children congregate. He showed several studies that linked some of the increase of allergies world-wide with industrial air pollution particularly sulphur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and even, indoor things such as formaldehyde and other chemicals in carpet, paints and furniture. In many places, indoor pollutants are worse than outdoor pollutants particularly things like nitrogen
dioxide and cigarette smoke. 

Dr. Bjorksten said that allergy is a life-long condition which starts usually in infancy. He recommended doing everything possible to stop a genetically prone baby from becoming fully allergic. The most effective way to accomplish this would be for the mother of the baby to breast feed as long as possible; secondarily to delay the onset of solid foods in her infant as long as possible, preferably after three to six months. Third, to limit
indoor allergens such as house dust, dust mites and mold as much as possible. Fourth, to keep the humidity in the home down and provide good ventilation of the home. Dr. Bjorksten cautions the danger of some so-called low allergy formulas which actually have
thousands of times higher proteins which can cause severe allergy reactions and even, death. He recommended sticking with the standard formulas recommended by the American Academy of
Pediatrics, whether cow milk formulas, soy formulas, or non-cow milk and non-soy formulas. Even the mother's diet while breastfeeding can affect her infant's allergies and good studies have shown that avoiding some high allergy foods such as cow-milk, nuts, shellfish and eggs in the first three months of breast-feeding can delay or decrease the onset of her baby's allergies especially

Dr. Bjorksten, in reviewing world-wide studies concluded that there is some other factor that we have not put our finger on which may be causing the world-wide increase of allergy suffering even beyond all of the things mentioned above. He recommended that we continue
to strive for answers to that problem. Many conjectures as to what that unknown factor might be were presented at the meeting in New York. One of the possible factors is air-borne rubber proteins from shredded tires. This might explain why inner city asthma and allergy seems to be the worst world-wide and why most deaths from
asthma occur in the inner cities. Future research will hopefully give us a clearer answer to this unusual problem.