‘Ask The Expert’ – Family history of allergy
Allergy expert, Dr. Chiang Wen Chin shares her thoughts on the influence of family history on a child’s risk of allergy.
It isn’t always easy to predict which child will develop an allergy and which child won’t. Research shows, however, that if a parent or close relative of a child has allergies, there’s a greater risk the child may also develop the same allergy. Even so, up to 15% of children with allergies have no history of allergy in their families. It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor about the potential risk and things you may be able to do to minimise allergy.
Dr. Chiang Wen Chin is a Pediatric allergy expert at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital. She has also been practicing Pediatrics for more than a decade. Her sub-specialties include the management of children with food allergies and drug allergies including eczema, rhinitis and asthma.
Question from a struggling mother: My son has been coughing and in pain for one month. Specialists advised that he avoid eggs, seafood, chicken and cow’s milk. Now my child drinks soya milk and eats foods that are not banned by the doctor, but still has the cough. My husband has asthma too. What can be done to improve my son’s condition?
Is asthma hereditary?
A persistent cough in a child can be due to many reasons. This could include a post-infectious cough, asthma or rhinitis. Allergies can be heredity. If a parent is diagnosed with an allergy, the chance of the child developing the allergy can be up to forty per cent. Since your husband has asthma, it is prudent for you to consider consulting a specialist to check if the reason for your child’s condition is due to allergies already present in the family.
Does my child have a food allergy?
Such coughing, may not and often is not due to food allergies. There is little evidence that a change in diet will actually improve the cough for your child. Soy formula or goat’s milk should not be used for allergy prevention. There are no studies present to show that use of soy formula or goat’s milk formula can prevent or change the course of allergies such as eczema, asthma and rhinitis. You should consider consulting a specialist for proper diagnosis of food allergy if suspected. The allergist may consider doing some skin or blood tests, which can rule out food allergies altogether.
The right diet
Dairy products such as cow’s milk should not be eliminated from the child’s diet, unless this is confirmed as the cause for the allergy. In the long run, elimination of dairy products will result in nutritional deficits for the child. Proteins such as calcium are present in dairy and are a vital factor in determining the growth of a child.
We hope this has improved your understanding regarding how family history can have an impact on allergy. If you have any further questions about this feel free to ask them below.
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