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Food Allergies - Prevention

Food allergies often occur in people who have a family history of asthma, atopic dermatitis, or allergies to pollen, mold, or other substances. These people are said to be atopic, meaning they have an inherited tendency to have allergic conditions. Allergies cannot be prevented in these people.

There isn't enough proof to recommend that people who are at risk for allergies should avoid common foods that cause allergies or foods that may be similar to common allergens like milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, sesame seeds, mustard, and sulphite.

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If you are a woman with a food allergy who is planning on a pregnancy and breast-feeding, talk to your doctor about what foods to avoid while pregnant or nursing. But if you don't have food allergies, avoiding certain foods during your pregnancy isn't recommended as a way to prevent the baby from having food allergies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies be breast-fed for the first year of life or longer.1 For babies with family members who have food allergies, breast-feeding only for at least 4 months may help prevent allergies to milk.2 If your baby is at high risk for allergies and you can't breast-feed, try a hydrolyzed milk formula. The milk protein in hydrolyzed formulas is changed to try to prevent allergies. There is no proof that giving your baby soy formula instead of cow's milk formula will prevent a food allergy in children at risk for food allergies.2

Tobacco smoke can make allergies worse, so it is important to have a smoke-free environment.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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