Food allergies? Avoid contact with perfuming wipes, dust and allergens in infants
In addition to genetics, dust, substances in soapy wipes and food allergens in contact with the skin: all together, these elements can trigger food allergies in children
Scented wipes, powder, skin contact of the newborn with food allergens, in addition to a genetic predisposition. These are the factors that, if taken together, could more easily trigger the future development of food allergies in very young children. To show it is a study conducted by Nortwestern University, in the United States, which will be published on April 6, 2018 in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The researchers found that at the basis of allergies there is a combination of genetic factors – which can be done little – along with a very early exposure, already on the skin of the newborn, to potentially allergenic substances, on which you can act.
Almost two million Italians suffer from a food allergy and in Europe one child out of four. Data are growing in the United States, with an 18% increase in diagnoses, in children and young people under 18, recorded from 1997 to 2007. But in general allergies are on the increase especially in Western countries, for example in Europe .
Starting from these data, the authors wanted to analyze the mechanisms underlying the onset of these disorders in childhood. In particular, they observed that about 35% of children with food allergy also suffer from atopic dermatitis, a chronic skin condition that in most cases is associated with the presence of three (or more) genetic mutations responsible for the rarefaction of the barrier of the skin. skin.
Starting from this element, the authors studied food allergies in newborn mouse models with the same three mutations, exposing the animal’s skin to the allergen, for example to peanuts, one of the major food allergens in America and also in Italy.
On their own, peanuts, however, have not triggered the allergic reaction, as researchers have shown. In order for this to happen, other factors appear to be necessary, such as exposure to dust, present in almost all homes. In fact, when the researchers repeated the evaluation, exposing the skin of the animal three or four times to the food together with substances present in the soap (such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which is also found in some wipes), to the powder and then did eating the offending food (eggs or peanuts), the reaction was there. The animal in fact developed allergy on the skin, in the intestine and in some cases also anaphylaxis, measured through body temperature.
Given this first result, what can be done to reduce the risk of food allergies in children? One measure hypothesized by the authors is to reduce the exposure of the skin of newborns to food allergens. As? For example, washing your hands before touching the baby, as explained by author Joan Cook-Mills, allergist and immunologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Already because many creams applied on the hands or face may contain peanut butter or other allergens, which then come into contact with the baby’s skin. “Reduce the use of wipes that leave soap on the skin of the newborn”, added the expert. “Rinse the soap with water as it was years ago”.
Now researchers are studying the presence of physical manifestations on the skin that appear right during the onset of food allergy. The presence of some specific symptoms, in fact, the authors conclude, could help to identify the phenomenon and block its development.