Study Links Food Allergies to Eczema and Other Skin Conditions
When a young child develops eczema, parents in the know often worry about other potential health conditions in their future. We do know there is a link between asthma, hay fever, and eczema (the atopic triad), and now a medical study out of Chicago might have shown why children with eczema also often develop food allergies. And it has to do with broken skin…
The study of 1,359 people from ages 0 to 21 was designed to check the “hygiene hypothesis” in relation to food allergies. The hygiene hypothesis states that exposure to germs early in life positively impacts the immune system and helps it build defenses against illness and prevent allergies. However, the hygiene hypothesis has rarely been studied in relation to food allergies.
The researchers believe that the exposure to a potential food allergen at a young age through broken skin, caused by eczema or another means, actually can contribute to an allergy to that food being developed later in life. This study was unique in that it specifically tried to bring in siblings and other family members, so the subjects and controls of the experiment would have similar genetic makeups. Many theories hold that allergies can be genetic, so having similar genes in either group would help narrow down if the food allergies were caused by broken skin or by other factors.
In addition to studying the relationship between broken skin, eczema, and food allergies, the study also looked at other hygiene factors including the use of antibiotics, exposure to animals, birth due to C-section, and many more.
If you are concerned about your eczema child having a food allergy, you might want to take them to your doctor for allergy testing. A scratch test can help narrow down potential allergens, as well as test for eczema over a longer period of time. If you suspect your child has food allergies that don’t trigger a histamine response, such as an intolerance to lactose, you might want to try to narrow it down by putting them on an elimination diet. This technique involves you cutting out a number of foods from their diet for a few weeks to see if the allergy symptoms get better. Once you’ve narrowed it down enough, you can eliminate those foods from your home completely.
If you suspect that your child has an eczema trigger, you can do the same by eliminating things from their environment. If there is a house pet, for example, it might be useful to remove them for a period of a few weeks to see if your child’s eczema clears up. In the meantime, treat your child with a mixture of moisturizers and wet wrap therapy using an Eczema Rescue Suit to mitigate any potential symptoms and make their nights far easier to get through.
With more and more children developing allergies every year, scientists have become increasingly determined to find the overall cause. There is a chance that this study could help researches find out exactly why the body develops allergies and how they can then either prevent or cure them. But that day appears to be quite a way off in the future yet.
"Increased prevalence of food allergy linked to early skin infection and eczema” <http://www.news-medical.net/news/20161118/Increased-prevalence-of-food-allergy-linked-to-early-skin-infection-and-eczema.aspx>. News Medical Life Sciences. News Medical Life Sciences, 18 November October 2016. Web. 23 November 2016.