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Preventing Allergies in Children

Children are more likely to develop allergies and asthma if their parents have allergic disease.  If one parent has allergies or asthma, a child is 40% more likely to develop allergies and asthma.  If both parents have asthma, a child is up to 70% more likely to develop asthma.  This section will help to educate you on steps which may be taken to help your child avoid, delay, or diminish the severity of allergies and asthma.

Avoiding environmental allergies and asthma
Since airborne substances may trigger allergy or asthma, reducing contact with air born allergens, may help to delay or prevent the onset of allergy or asthma symptoms. This is especially important for newborns when both parents have allergic disease. Among the most provocative substances are house dust and the mites which live in this dust.  Dust mites are microscopic creatures related to spiders. They are often found in large quantities, even in very clean households. Taking aggressive measures to control dust in the homes of high-risk children is an important measure in reducing the incidence of allergies and asthma in early life.   Other measures may include the use of allergen proof covers on bedding; washing bedding in hot water weekly, keeping indoor humidity below 50%, and keeping the child’s environment as dust free as possible. Removing things such as carpets, upholstered furniture or other objects which collect dust from the child’s bedroom may also be helpful.

The evidence regarding exposure to animals has not yet shown a clear association between early exposure and the onset of allergic disease.  If you have pets, you will need to consult your allergist, who will determine the best measures for you to take to protect your child from developing allergies to the pets.  Your allergist will be able to give you the most current information regarding exposure to animals and the development of allergies in children.

Other factors which may contribute to childhood asthma

Exposure to smoke and second hand smoke has be shown to cause wheezing in infants.  Children exposed to smoke have an increased chance of developing asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Parents, family members and child care workers should not smoke in areas where infants and children may be exposed. 

Respiratory infections are a common trigger of asthma in children.  Breast feeding, because it helps to bolster a child’s immune system, may decrease the incidence of respiratory infections and reduce the child’s risk of having asthmatic symptoms.  


New research is being conducted to help determine the best methods for avoiding allergies and asthma in children.  If you are a parent with allergic disease, you should consult your allergist on the most current methods of reducing your child’s chances of developing allergies.






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