Allergies are an issue that many of us are familiar with; with over 40 million people experiencing some type of allergic reaction to different substances every day. It is helpful to determine what forms of allergies are out there and the connection between the responses that our bodies have to what has possibly happened early on in life to precipitate those allergies.
Allergic reactions can happen at any time and to anyone; some of the possible allergens that we’re exposed to today include latex, dust, pet dander, food, bug bites, drugs, grass, and mold, just to name a few. (1)
So, what exactly initiates an allergic reaction? Allergies occur when the allergen substance – whatever that may be – comes in contact with antibodies on cells in the body. These cells begin to excrete a chemical called histamine, which then causes the symptoms and reactions that we get to these allergens. (3) Some of these symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, itchy skin, redness, rashes, and tingling, depending on the type of allergic substance. More severe symptoms include anaphylaxis, chest tightness, and swelling in the mouth. (3)
Allergies can begin at any stage of life, and they’ve increased in occurrence within the last 30-40 years; one study even found that allergies to different types of foods have increased 18% in a period of 10 years. (4) Dermatitis and asthma are two more allergies that have seen a rise in incidence as well – so the question is, are we doing something within our lifestyles to initiate these allergies? (2)
A recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association has found a correlation between medicines that block acid, and the occurrence of allergic reactions; another study also found the same connection, citing that there is a relationship between antibiotic use and the prevalence of food allergies later in life. Due to both of these studies – and many other studies that are out there today – that are finding a common theme with early life medications and allergies, it’s vital that we realize the long-term effects of these treatments on health into the future. (2) (5)
As babies, our bodies are constantly changing and developing. Because of this important period of growth, there needs to be a certain level of exposure to substances that cause a reaction with our immune systems – this in turn helps to create a healthy immune system. Studies today have theorized that the bacteria and organisms that are present in our digestive tract during childhood are playing vital roles in the sensitivity level against foods, which then can possibly associate with any allergic reactions later on in life. (5)
Being aware of the possible side effects (and long-term effects in regards to allergies) of acid blockers and antibiotics on children is vital; both parents and health care providers should be knowledgeable about the health and wellness effects of these prescriptions, and how it will impact the future gut health of children.
You can still create tolerance! Functional medicine can help your gut and immune system stay focused on self-regulation and tolerance. Through individualized medicine and important choices in diet, environment and supplementation you can tackle these challenging disorders and get back on the right track!
Where there is a will, there is a way and we are here to help guide you through that process.
Mitre, E., Susi, A., Kropp, L., Schwartz, D., Gorman, G., Nylund, C. (2018). Association Between Use of Acid-Suppressive Medications and Antibiotics During Infancy and Allergic Diseases in Early Childhood. Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, pp. E1-E8. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.0315 (2)
Trikha, A., Baillargeon, J. G., Kuo, Y. F., Tan, A., Pierson, K., Sharma, G., Wilkinson, G., … Bonds, R. S. (2013). Development of food allergies in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease treated with gastric acid suppressive medications. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology: Official Publication of the European Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 24(6), pp. 582-588. (4)
Love, B. L., Mann, J. R., Hardin, J. W., Lu, Z. K., Cox, C., and Amrol, D. J. (2016). Antibiotic prescription and food allergy in young children. Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology: Official Journal of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 12, 41. doi:10.1186/s13223-016-0148-7 (5)