May 052013

imagesA few years ago when our granddaughter was attending kindergarten,  she was coming home every day with terrible rashes on her hands.  When her mother investigated as to the cause she found that each child was required to wash their hands several times throughout the day using antibacterial soap. Not only that, all parents in that school had been required to purchase large containers of Chlorox Wipes for the school as they were used so often by the teachers.

When I read that a  new government study from the Center For Disease Control revealed a sharp increase in food allergies and skin disorders such as eczema in the last few years (which basically  means that  1 in every 20 children will develop a food allergy and 1 in every 8 children will have a skin allergy), I immediately thought about my granddaughter’s reaction to the chemicals constantly put on her skin. My daughter had to fight to keep these chemicals off my granddaughter by providing non-toxic soap for her to use when she was required to wash her hands.

Another study published in JAMA suggested that foreign born children who move to live in the U.S. have a lower risk of allergic diseases.  However, the longer they live in the U.S., the greater their risk for these conditions becomes.

According to experts,  the rise in the skin and food allergy issues  include the “hygiene hypothesis” that allergies are tied to reduced exposure to pathogens, ( meaning our body’s ability to fight back has been weakened by too clean of an environment),   insufficient vitamin D,  and dietary factors.  Just in today’s news came a report about Triclosan, a popular antibacterial chemical that has been on the market for more than 40 years and found in everything from soap to body washes,  but recent studies raise concerns that it might be doing more harm than good.   The FDA actually states that it has no proven benefit in using it ~ just use plain soap and water.  The obsession we all have to use these anti-bacterial soaps could be just one more piece to the puzzle of why allergies, etc. are on the rise.

It does seem as though our modern living has something to do with this rise.  Our foods have become much more processed, we exercise less and spend more time indoors.  According to a study published in the journal Thorax, fast food fare is linked to an increased risk of asthma, eczema and rhinitis among kids and teens. The study also found that eating fruit could protect against these disorders among all age groups.  Eating fast food meals at least three times a week was linked to a 39% increased risk of severe asthma in teenagers and a 27% increased risk among children between ages six and seven. Fruit, on the other hand, seemed to have the opposite effect on asthma symptoms; three or more servings of fruit was associated with a 11% decrease in severe symptoms in teens and a 14% drop in severity of suffering in kids.

Dr. Doris Rapp, a board-certified pediatric allergist and specialist in environmental medicine, states, “One of the primary reasons for allergies in children, as in adults, is a poorly functioning immune system. If the immune system is inadequate, we can develop allergies and environmental illness. One way to strengthen the immune system so that your child is less prone to environmental illness or allergy is by using various nutrients.” A well known nutritionist, Barbara Lagoni, recommends nutrients beneficial to helping with allergies in this report. 
Taking the following preventative steps may be a great beginning in helping to curb this rise:
  • Avoiding fast food
  • increasing our intake of fruits for their beneficial antioxidant properties
  • including Vitamin D supplements with our daily vitamins
  • using less antibacterial soaps and chemicals that touch our skin
  • building up our immune systems with a healthy diet as well as supplements

Do you have allergies and skin problems with any members of your family?  What are your solutions?




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