NORFOLK--Food and skin allergies are on the rise, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Angela Hogan is a pediatric allergist from CHKD and says there are things you can do, even in utero, to prevent children from developing allergies.

Hogan suggests that pregnant women take probiotics, Vitamin D and fish oil. She also says to eat whatever you DON'T want your child to be allergic to.

Hogan warns that intolerances should not be confused for allergies. For example, many parents confuse a lactose intolerance with a dairy allergy. An intolerance may produce spit-up and gas pains, but an allergy will lead to hives and respiratory distress.

Also, Hogan says you can wean an intolerance and the body may outgrow an allergy.

Hogan encourages parents who have the EpiPen to use it when they see their child have either one aggressive reaction or two mild reactions. She says many are afraid of using more than Benadryl, but she's seen it save lives.

Hogan says there are theories, but no proof, of what's causing the increase in food allergies.

1) We are too clean. The CDC's report says that children who belong to more affluent families have a higher incidence rate of allergies because of their priorities to keep things pristine.

2) Many children who are born through C-sections miss out on the transfer of good bacteria through the vaginal canal because they're born into a sterile environment.

3) Many children are introduced to certain foods too late. In fact, the latest recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics says you should introduce your children to peanuts, for example, between six to eight months, when they are actively learning how to process the environment around them without building resistances. These guidelines contradict the ones issued five years ago that say to wait until they're three./p>

Click here for more information about a Norfolk organization that specializes in helping parents navigate the world of food allergies.

Read or Share this story: