Friday, September 13, 2013

Does exposing children to allergens early help?

Image by Walt Stoneburner.
I am allergic to my cat. But I love her, so she stays and I take a pill every day to cope with my symptoms.

When I was pregnant, I often wondered if my son would inherit my dander allergy, or if the constant exposure to our cat would help him build his immunities. So far, so good. He adores our cat, knows how to pet her gently and he doesn't seem to suffer any symptoms after he spends lengthy periods of time with her. (Of course, she stays out of his bedroom and he does wash his hands after petting her.)

So, I am intrigued by the idea that early exposure to allergenic foods may be beneficial to our children. Obviously, there is still a lot more research to be done on this, but I am curious about parents who worry about passing their food allergy on to their child. Did you expose your child to the food early or have you been avoiding it just in case?

Update: Medical food-related allergies have risen to around $4,200 per child annually. Yes, that is a scary amount of money, but just think of all those poor children in hospitals due to their allergies. That's really scary.

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