Keeping Children Allergy-Free
- Nurse them for one year. Breast milk helps babies develop healthy intestinal bacteria and can reduce their risks of allergies and asthma later in life.
- Avoid antibiotics as much as possible. Antibiotics can disrupt colonies of normal bacteria that populate the intestines. Studies have found that antibiotic use early in life is linked to a higher risk of allergies and asthma as children grow.
- Expose them to animals. Even if you can’t have pets because of your own allergies, having your children spend time around animals on a regular basis can help prevent dander allergies.
- Keep it clean. While some exposure to allergens may help build immunity, it’s still important to regularly clean bedding and use HEPA air filters to screen out irritants. It's also a good idea to shower after being out of doors. Saline sprays and rinses may sooth irritation and remove allergens from nasal passages (over-rinsing can dry them out, so be sure to follow the recommended usage).
- Consider probiotics. Some research suggests that supplements could be a good idea for children with allergies. In addition, cultured foods like unpasteurized sauerkraut, fermented pickles, and cultured dairy like yogurt and kefir provide strains of similar lactic acid–producing bacteria that might help keep the immune system in check.
(Indian Pediatr 2012;pii: S097475591100603-1)