Why are allergies so prevalent in children and how can they be prevented?

Why is your baby vomiting industrial milk? Why can’t your child set foot outside in May without tears in their eyes? And why does your daughter have shortness of breath while sleeping in a country house? Today, respiratory and food allergies affect many children … and more and more. The causes of this allergic disease seem to be multiple and complex. So it seems essential to better understand them to prevent them from exploding.

Allergies have increased from 3.8% to 30% of the world’s population in fifty years

There is usually no reason why a person cannot tolerate grass or peanuts from birth. It’s an overwhelming immune response that explains that the nose goes away, the eyes become red, that he sneezes, swells, scratches … “According to the World Health Organization, allergies are the fourth most common chronic disease. Researchers at the Public Research Institute are working for harmonious and sustainable development in agriculture, food and the environment (Inrae). And WHO predicts that by 2050, 50% of the world’s population will suffer from allergies. ” Because this pathology, respiratory or food, has been on the rise for thirty years. The WHO estimates that 30% of the world’s population today suffers from allergic diseases, up from 3.8% in 1968.

“Allergies in children are more frequent and severe”

In France, the number of people with allergies has doubled in twenty years, according to the association. With the exception of children. Even if it is difficult to compare surveys that do not always have the same subject matter in the study – for example a single diet or a single pollen – or the same population has been studied, there are several international and French studies that raise concerns. The Elf study, which followed 15,000 French babies born in 2011, found that 6% of them developed a food allergy and, among them, 20% had several allergies. Karin Adel-Patient says, “Allergies in children are more frequent and severe. Asthma. [80 % des asthmes sont allergiques] Affects 4 million French people, one third of whom are children. Similarly, 6 to 8% of children suffer from food allergies compared to 2 to 4% of adults. A

A concern (cephal) confirmed by Madeline Epstein, vice president of the Allergists and Allergists Union in Paris. “Purposefully, there are more and more children with allergies. When I became an allergist in the 1980’s, we rarely talked about food allergies. Moreover, we discovered allergies to peanuts and milk in children … Today, the most common food allergy reaction among them is peanuts, nuts, eggs and milk. “With a significant impact on their daily lives.” Children with milk allergies will not be able to attend the birthday party. A

Possible explanation for the increase in allergies

Is it the universality of plastic in our environment? Chemical compounds in baby bottles? Industrial food? Clothing? Air pollution? The reasons remain highly mysterious. “It is versatile, warns allergists. Immune system is ineffective. Who orders it? Microbiota. However, changes in diet and environment affect it. We also know that antibiotic use corrects it, but there are more allergies in children who take large amounts of antibiotics.” Accepted.

One track leads to global warming. Plants and shrubs grow where the population has never been exposed to this type of pollen. “Pollution makes pollen more allergenic and acts on them by making the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract more fragile. In addition, it can alter the genome and create a tendency for allergies to become hereditary. It works in all aspects, it’s great! “, Dr. Madeleine mocks Epstein.

This explains why there are more children with allergies, as well as the fact that genetic material is important. “In the general population, a child has a 5 to 10% risk of developing allergies, up from 30 to 40% if one of the parents has allergies, and up to 60% if both parents have allergies,” continued Karin Adel-Patient. Logically, if more adults are allergic and have parents, the proportion of children with allergies increases.

How to determine the cause of this allergy and improve prevention?

To go further and understand the triggering factors, Karine Adel-Patient’s team at Inrae has launched a research project on the link between food and allergies in childhood. For five years and thanks to the support of the Foundation for Medical Research (FRM), they have been trying to determine which chemical contaminants eaten by mothers during pregnancy and lactation may be responsible. Researchers rely on two major French epidemiological studies: Elf, which we have already mentioned, and Eden, which focuses on determinants of child development and health. “They follow mothers during pregnancy to learn about their eating habits, their way of life,” the researchers explained. Then we take milk, hair, urine samples in the maternity ward. Then, their kids are followed for ten or twenty years, especially to see if they have allergies. We will then go beyond these data with the National Food Safety Agency (ANSA), which reveals contamination levels for 400 foods that cover 90% of the average French diet. A

Additional method: The team is interested in meconium, the baby’s first stool. “They accumulate in the last six months of pregnancy. A history of examining what the fetus has received through the placenta. Finally, researchers tested some contaminants on rats to see if their offspring were allergic. Millions? “We hope to be able to highlight specific hazardous contaminants and help implement a prevention policy to prevent allergy epidemics,” concludes Karin Adel-Patient. What can pregnant mothers do? Researchers advise them to “eat a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, avoid as much natural as possible, and everything processed and packaged. Hoping to have many more specific recommendations in ten years.”

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