Ask the expert about allergies in children
What can you do when your child develops an allergy towards certain foods? Our expert, Dr Liew Woei Kang answers your questions on allergies in children.
Most parents get anxious when they discover that their child has developed an allergy towards certain foods during their early years. To help you better understand the occurrence of allergies in children, our expert, Dr Liew Woei Kang shares some advice with us in this special video segment.
Dr Liew is a paediatrician at SBCC Baby & Child Clinic, Gleneagles Medical Centre who specialises in general paediatrics and allergy conditions in children.
How to prevent allergies in babies
According to Dr Liew, it is recommended that mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months to assist in preventing allergies. This is because breast milk contains nutrients that help to protect your baby against infections and promote the growth of good intestinal bacteria (also known as probiotics).
However, if exclusive breastfeeding is not possible after 6 months, Dr Liew recommends that you give a partially hydrolysed hypoallergenic formula if your baby is at risk of developing allergies. Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that soy formula can be used to prevent or lower the allergy risk.
Cow’s milk protein allergy should be medically diagnosed, and mothers should not switch to soy formula without consulting their doctors because there is a 10-30% chance that their children may be allergic to soy too. Likewise, lactose-free formulas should only be used under special circumstances to ensure adequate nutrition. Lactose is an important energy source that helps to enhance brain and bone development.
Goat’s milk formula is another mammalian milk that has similar properties to cow’s milk protein. So, it is not a good formula for those with true cow’s milk protein allergy. In fact, it is a misconception that goat’s milk is good for managing asthma, eczema, stuffy nose or even colic.
Click on the next page to find out how long do allergies in children last.
How long do allergies last?
Some allergies can be outgrown in childhood, but if there is a family history of allergy, there is a chance that your child may develop other allergic diseases.
Eczema and food allergies are most common during infancy. These are often followed by asthma at preschool age and allergic rhinitis (an allergic reaction that affects the nose) at school age. This progression from one allergy to the next is called the “allergic march”.
As the natural history of each allergic disease differs for individuals, the most important thing is to get the right diagnosis, and to manage the allergy correctly.
We hope that Dr Liew’s advice has helped to clear your doubts and concerns on childhood allergies. Do look out for our next video segment for more information on common allergic symptoms in children.
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