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Allergies: Are You or Your Children at Risk?

Allergies can develop at any point in your life, but children are more likely to become allergic to something. Age aside, some people may have a higher chance of developing allergies than others. While there are still many things that stay unknown about allergies, we do know some risk factors of allergies, as well as what types of allergies you may outgrow.

Am I at risk for allergies?

We still do not know what exactly causes an allergy to develop, but certain risk factors for allergies have been identified. You may have a greater chance of becoming allergic to something if you:

  • Have a family history of allergies

    The biggest risk factor for getting allergies is genetics. If your mom or dad is allergic to something, you are more likely to have allergies. If both of your parents have allergies, your chances are even greater.
  • Were born by C-section

    Children who were born by C-section have a greater chance of getting allergies, compared to those born vaginally.
  • Have asthma or already have an allergy

    If you have asthma your chances of getting an allergy increases. Also, if you already are allergic to something, your chances of becoming allergic to something else are greater.
  • Are exposed to certain things in the environment

    Being around smokers and dust mites may raise your chances of getting allergies.

Will I outgrow my allergies?

If you have an allergy, chances are you will have it for the rest of your life. But, in some cases people have been shown to outgrow certain food allergies. According to the American Academy of Asthma Allergy & Immunology, most children outgrow their allergies to cow's milk, soy, wheat and egg.

What can I do to prevent allergies?

Aside from outgrowing certain types of food allergies, there are no known cures for allergies. But, there are steps that you can take that may help prevent or put-off the development of allergies in children:

  • Nursing – A mother's milk builds up a baby's immune system and may help prevent or put-off certain allergies. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that mother's breastfeed for at least four months. It has been shown that breastfeeding can lower a child's chance of getting eczema and an allergy to cow's milk.
  • Limiting contact with dust mites – Keeping your children away from dust mites or at least reducing their contact with them, may put-off or prevent allergy or asthma symptoms. To curb dust mites you can buy allergy-proof mattress and pillow covers, wash bedding weekly, vacuum often, and remove carpeting, drapery and other items that can collect dust in your child's room.

As of now, there are no ways to prevent allergies altogether. But these healthy tips may help. Talk to your doctor, if you believe you and/or your child are at risk for developing allergies.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, WebMD, American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology

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