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Sunday, August 30, 2009

FOOD ALLERGY - what every parent needs to know



It has been 100 years since the word “allergy” was first coined in 1906 and yet we have not found a cure for it. Therefore, prevention remains the only way to curb allergy. And it is every parent’s duty to give his or her child an allergy-free life.


In the present threat of A-H1N1, it would also be prudent for us to watch our diet intake as the wrong food, could always induce our allergies into going hyper active in mere minutes! Always avoid foods that have rich preservatives/bacterial contents. Belacan, cheese, udang kering, ikan kering (all the good stuffs!) & etc…well you know the drill, different people different food groups! Eat healthy food and enjoy a healthier life style. Make it a part of daily living.


What Every Parent Needs To Know About Food Allergy

Allergy is on the rise in many countries across the world including Malaysia. As a caring parent, you would want to prevent your child from allergy which not only brings misery to him but to the whole family as well. Managing allergy also costs money, time and energy. To win the battle against allergy, understanding the problem is a must.


Let’s Start By Getting To Know The Basics About Food Allergy

Is your child at risk of food allergy?

Food allergy is increasingly common and is distressing for both parents and children. Although it has no age barriers, food allergy usually begins during the first year of life. Most children outgrow certain allergies by the time they go to school: however, in many others, they persist into adulthood. Those at highest risk are those with family history of allergies.


How does food allergy come about?

Normally, the immune system attacks harmful bacteria, viruses and foreign substances in the body while recognizing food as harmless. Food allergy arises when the immune system mistakes a particular food component, usually as protein, as dangerous and attacks it.


What are the symptoms of food allergy?

The symptoms of food allergy include itchiness, eczema, dermatitis, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, asthma and bronchitis. Most reactions are mild but some individuals may have severe reactions that can be fatal.


What kind of food can cause allergy?

Any food is capable of causing allergy, some more than others. Highly allergic food includes cow’s milk, egg white, soy, fish, shellfish, crab, shrimp, lobster or crayfish, and peanut. Allergy to cow’s milk is particularly common in infants.


Why is allergy prevention important?

Although affective treatments are available, there are currently no cures for allergies. Therefore, it makes sense to prevent allergies, if possible, in infants and children. Furthermore, the incidence of allergies is increasing (35%) and presents a major childhood problem. Long-term protection is needed as the development of one allergy can predispose your child to further allergies – for example, food allergies, later in life. The cost of treating allergies is also constantly increasing not only in terms of healthcare but also the hidden cost of poor quality of life for your child and family.


What should I do to prevent my child from developing allergies?

The best way to prevent allergies is to breastfeed your baby exclusively for at least 6 months. it is It is the perfect hypoallergenic milk and an important source of antibodies called immunoglobulin A (Ig A). The following measures have also been proven to be highly affective in preventing or reducing the food allergy risk:

· Recognize your baby’s allergy risk by recording your family allergy history

· If you are unable to breastfeed due to medical reasons, discuss with your doctor other options such as hypoallergenic formula

· Soy milk and goat’s milk formulae DO NOT effectively reduce the risk allergies

· Wean your baby only after the sixth month onwards. Introduce one new food a week but avoid highly allergenic foods for the first year ( refer to the Guide for Prudent Weaning for more information)

· Take measures to reduce the amount of dust in the house

· No pets at home or at the child care center

· No smoking during pregnancy or in the presence of your child


What is hypoallergenic milk formula?

Today, advanced food research can modify cow’s milk proteins to become less allergic. Using a process called hydrolysis, the potential for allergic reactions of the proteins is reduced by breaking them down into smaller particles by using enzymes such as alcalase. A hypoallergenic milk formula is one in which its protein is less allergenic and is formulated to prevent allergies.


Is soy formula better at preventing allergies than cow’s milk formula?

No. Studies have shown that the use of soy formula does not prevent the development of allergies in children. About 15-50% of children who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to soy milk. In fact, studies have shown that the use of hypoallergenic milk formulas in high risk infants reduces the risk of developing eczema and cow’s milk allergy in infancy and childhood.


And Now, For More Interesting Facts and Finding About Allergy

Our intestine is the larger immune organ of the body

Let’s take a peep at our intestine. Apart from being a digestive organ, our intestine contains about 80% of all antibody-producing cells in the body, making it our largest immune organ. our intestine is also home to trillions of bacteria, both friendly and unfriendly, forming what we call the intestinal micro flora, which apart from keeping us generally healthy, also plays an important part in the prevention of allergy.


Introducing the friendly bacteria, Bifido-bacteria (or Bifidobacteria)

A newborn’s intestine is sterile but within hours of birth, it becomes colonized by microorganisms from the mother’s birth canal and the environment. In exclusively breastfed infants, a particular type of friendly bacteria, the Bifidobacteria, becomes dominant and eventually makes up 99% of the total bacterial count.


Bifidobacteria plays an important role in the prevention of allergies

At birth, your child’s immune system is immature and so is susceptible to infections and allergy. Bifidobacteria stimulates the maturation and functions of your child’s intestinal immune system. In fact, it was found that young children suffering from allergies have less bifidobacteria compared to those without allergies. In addiction, bifidobacteria also offers protection against intestinal infections caused by harmful bacteria. An example of such an infection is gastroenteritis which leads to diarrhea. Diarrhea is still the leading cause of infant mortality in many underdeveloped countries.


Unfortunately, the population of Bifidobacteria can be jeopardized through several ways…

Method delivery of an infant:

The mother’s gut, skin and vaginal flora are sources of bacteria for colonizing the newborn’s intestine. Hence, the method of birth influences the infant’s intestinal microflora. It was found that an infant born through caesarean section, where there is no contact with his mother’s vaginal flora and faecal flora, experienced a delay in building of their normal intestinal microflora and this microflora may be disturbed for up to 6 months after birth. Caesarean-born infants also have less bifidobacteria, especially if they were not breastfed or were breastfed for only a short time.


Weaning:

The introduction of solid foods leads to changes in the intestinal microflora where the number of bifidobacteria decreases. Incidentally, weaning is also a high risk period because new foods given to the child naturally bring with them risks of food allergy.

But fortunately, the Bifidobacteria population can be restored with bifidogenic nutrients or probiotic

Breast milk has special bifidogenic properties that encourage the growth of Bifidobacteria. For example, breast milk has high lactose, low phosphorus and good quality protein. For mothers who are unable to breastfeed due to medical reasons, milk formulas added with these bifidogenic nutrients are available.


Probiotics are live cultures of friendly bacteria that are used as food ingredients. When ingested, these friendly bacteria offer health benefits to the host, which include:

  • Protection against allergic diseases
  • Protection against intestinal infections which may cause diarrhea
  • Help in the absorption of minerals
  • Help in the synthesis of vitamin B and K


One good example of probiotic bacteria is bifidobacteria, which has been successfully added to children’s foods like milk, yogurt and yogurt drinks. Clinical trials have also shown that bifidobacterial cab help improve intestinal health of infants and young children and improve their bowel movements.


DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and its role in the prevention of allergies

DHA is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA), which not only is required for optimal brain and visual development, but also helps in your child’s immune response with its strong anti-inflammatory actions. Two recent studies have shown that giving DHA-rich fish oil to infants during the first year of life, decreased their risks of allergic rhinitis and asthma up to their fourth year in childhood.



Guide to Prudent Weaning

Food which are least likely to cause allergic reactions:

  • rice
  • carrot
  • pear
  • apple
  • prune

Foods which are usually well tolerated, but occasionally cause allergic reactions:

  • barley
  • oats
  • wheat
  • beef
  • lamb
  • chicken
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • potato
  • spinach
  • corn (and corn oil)
  • banana
  • turnip
  • egg yolk (must be fully cooked)
  • legumes (Soya bean, beans)
  • fish

Food which are highly allergic:

  • seafood (e.g.: prawn, crabs, dried and fresh scallops)
  • egg white
  • peanuts

Consult your doctor today and protect your baby against allergy.

You may read further at this web site, just click: http://www.xyzofallergy.org


Persatuan Alergi Imunologi Malaysia (MSAI)

Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology (MSAI)


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3 comments:

hazeleyed said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply]Best Blogger Templates

Salam
Thanks for the info.

Rhonda Lewis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply]Best Blogger Templates

Great information - I look forward to reading more on Deliah's Deli!

Deliah's Deli said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks Hazeleyed. I look forward to reading up on your blog :) Thanks again for coming by here.

Thanks Rhonda Lewis. I’m always happy to be sharing any good useable info’s I come across at work.

I guess allergy - although is a condition, is really irritating and really expensive to fix. It could also open doors for other kind of illness to venture in. Prevention from start is best really. A supplement that’s rich in allicin such as garlic tablets does mitigate the condition a bit. Something I did not mention in the writing was horseradish. Taking Vitamin C with bio-flavanoids is another source for me. Well thanks for coming by :) Appreciate it :) Bright blessings to all :)