The Allergy Theory

DURING THIS spring and early summer, I have come across a lot of people that suffer from some sort of allergy.  Most of us are aware of the rise in incidence rates, but I wanted to do some fact checking.  Since 1990, the number of children admitted to hospital for allergic reactions has increased seven-fold, which is quite astounding.

An allergy is when your immune system mistakenly reacts to harmless proteins as a threat.  I’m interested as to why the increase in allergies, so I did some more reading to compare my thoughts with those proposed by the medical community.  Here is what I found:

  • Like most disease, family history is implicated with increased risk.  However this could either be related to genes or lifestyle- your guess is as good as mine.
  • Sanitary environment – clean homes… children who lack early exposure to their natural environment (dirt, germs, etc.) to stimulate their immune systems. This article from the UCLA Food and Drug Allergy Care Centre touches on the hygiene hypothesis
  • Diet – Less raw, wholefood consumption, delayed introduction to certain foods (OK to start at 4-6 mo.), some food additives, and unhealthy foods (sugar, salt, Omega-6, etc.)

The bottom line is that these theories suggest kids need to get outside and play in the local park at an early age, eat raw, wholefoods early on and always stick to healthy foods. While mom and dad need not worry so much about sanitization of the home.