Can Allergies be Prevented?

Do probiotics have a role in preventing allergies?Can Allergies be Prevented?

While some studies demonstrated a protective effect of probiotics on the development of eczema, other studies have shown no effect on the development of other allergic diseases.  In view of the conflicting results of various studies, probiotics are not currently recommended for preventing allergies.

How about fish oils?

There is no convincing evidence at this time that taking fish oil supplements have any significant benefit in preventing allergies.

Will dust mite avoidance measures cut down the risk of developing allergies and/or asthma?

Unless an individual is already sensitized to dust mites, avoidance measures to reduce the exposure to dust mites have not proved to reduce the chances of developing allergies, eczema, or asthma.

Should I avoid pets?

There is no reason to remove pets from the household unless a person’s allergies and/or asthma flares up when he or she is exposed to the pets.  Even if an individual’s symptoms are tied to their exposure to pets, it is often very difficult for them to get rid of their pets, as the pets are considered part of the family.  If an allergy sufferer’s symptoms appear to worsen when exposed to their pets and he or she is unwilling to remove the pets from their home, it is advised to keep the pets out of the bedroom where that individual usually spends at least 7-8 hours per day or night.

If I restrict some foods while I am pregnant and/or while breastfeeding, would that prevent my child from having food allergies?

Avoidance of common allergy-causing foods such as peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts), eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, dairy, etc. has not been shown to reduce the risk of children developing food allergies.  In fact, restrictions in one’s diet during pregnancy and lactation have been linked to a decreased weight gain by babies and should be avoided.

Should I delay introduction of any foods to my infant to prevent food allergies?

Some studies showed that babies exclusively breastfed for the first 3 to 4 months of life are less likely to develop food allergies and eczema during the first 2 years of life.  As a general rule, solid foods should be introduced around 6 months of age, preferably while still breastfeeding.  This however should be confirmed by your pediatrician.  Common allergenic foods containing peanut, egg, fish, cow’s milk and soy should be given to babies before 12 months of age.  Again, this should be determined by your pediatrician.  Studies of children at high risk of developing allergies (i.e., children with eczema and/or with a family history of allergies) have demonstrated that early introduction of these foods will reduce the risk of developing food allergies in later life.

Is soy milk or goat’s milk better to prevent allergies than cow’s milk formula?

No.  Studies have showed that soy-based formulas or goat’s milk does not prevent the development of food allergies in children.

What should I do if I suspect that my child has a food allergy?

Accurate diagnosis by standardized testing is essential before treatments are contemplated.  If the tests confirm allergies to specific foods, avoidance of those foods and substitution with suitable alternatives, supervised by your board certified allergist, like the allergy specialists at Black & Kletz Allergy are recommended.  Special alternative formulas are available for children with cow’s milk and/or soy milk allergies.

Will allergy injections (i.e., immunotherapy, desensitization) prevent allergies?

The current indications for allergy immunotherapy (i.e., allergy shots, allergy injections, allergy desensitization, allergy hyposensitization) is to treat established environmental allergies.  However, there is emerging evidence that treating children with allergic rhinitis (i.e., hay fever) with allergy injections to “switch off” their allergies may reduce the risk of them developing new allergies and asthma later in life.

The board certified allergists at Black and Kletz Allergy have been diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma for more than 50 years in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area.  We see both adults and pediatric patients.  We have offices in Washington, DC, McLean, VA (Tysons Corner, VA), and Manassas, VA.  We have on-site parking at each of our 3 locations.  Our Washington, DC and McLean, VA offices are Metro accessible.  Black & Kletz Allergy offers a free shuttle service between our McLean, VA office and the Spring Hill metro station on the silver line.  If you suffer from allergies, asthma, sinus problems, hives, or immunological disorders, please call us to make an appointment.  You may also click Request an Appointment and we will respond within 24 hours by the next business day.  Black & Kletz Allergy is dedicated in providing the most state-of-the-art allergy treatment in a warm, caring, and professional environment.