Monday, September 24, 2012

101 Ways to Prevent Asthma, Allergies, Eczema and Hayfever

Okay, if you got here because you think I'm going to offer you advice on how to prevent anything, I'm not. The title is entirely facetious. If you've read my blog, you know that I don't believe in cures for non-curable conditions (atopy and allergies) and I don't offer medical advice.

Recently, I had a brief Twitter discussion resulting from this BBC News article: 'Super soup" test in asthma trial. It also followed a few discussions I had with some parents at a wedding a couple of weeks ago about the current "wisdom" regarding what mothers should eat during pregnancy to prevent their child developing a condition like asthma. For the moment, nuts seem to be the recommended food to eat during pregnancy.

The Twitter discussion ended up with both of us agreeing that we'd love it if there were one resource in which a parent could access all the things they're supposed to do and not supposed to do during pregnant. The list could include get more Vitamin E in your diet, get a cat (but don't change the litter box), eat nuts, don't smoke, don't drink, limit your caffeine intake, etc.

Since I have allergies and atopy, a list like this would be perfect for me since no matter what I do, should I have a child, he or she is very likely to have the same conditions. With one parent, the risk is 25 per cent, but risk is a funny thing. It doesn't mean that should I have four children only one would have the conditions. It means that every time I have a child, the risk is 25 per cent. Should the father have any allergic or atopic condition (even hayfever counts), that risks soars. Add in all the dos and don'ts and the fact that those change, and I think that a parent can do everything "right" and still end up with an atopic and/or allergic child.

A few years ago, the prevailing "wisdom" said that delaying the introduction of priority allergen foods for children would prevent them from developing allergies. Milk seems to be the exception there, which is probably more of a lobbying effort than anything else. My sister did that with all of her children. No allergies. However, the current "wisdom" is totally opposite, though they do say to introduce solid foods later, rather than sooner.

However, will the evidence suggest otherwise in a few years? Maybe. Probably. At a recent medical talk I attended, one of the doctors stated that "Medicine is an art". I've heard that said by many doctors, probably the better ones.

But, can there be a list that tells us exactly what to do to prevent disease? Not right now, but I'd like to think there will be.

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