Chicago, IL, May 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Are kids allergic to the United States? A new study suggests that children born in other countries are less likely to experience pediatric allergies, asthma, hay fever, eczema, and food allergies--until they move to the U.S. Surprisingly, researchers found that a child's odds of developing hay fever and eczema (atopic dermatitis) increases after living here for more than ten years. The data, pulled from a National Survey of Children's Health, also showed that kids whose parents were born outside the U.S. had lower rates of allergic diseases. So what causes allergies? Is it the environment or genetics?
Dr. Brian Rotskoff, Chicago allergy specialist of Clarity Allergy Center, believes a range of environmental factors are to blame for the prevalence of allergies in the U.S. "Genetics do play a role in a child's sensitivity and predisposition to allergies, but when kids are relocated to the U.S., environmental factors are added to the mix. Repeated exposure to our surroundings and lifestyle changes causes allergy symptoms to emerge."
Potential allergy triggers in the U.S.:
- Seasonal changes in weather, temperature, and pollen counts
- Diverse plant life
- Diets higher in processed foods
- Overuse of antibiotics
- Environmental pollutants
- High-stress lifestyles
Some research indicates that more than half of all Americans suffer from allergies, while in the United Kingdom just over 20% have allergies. Places like the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand have the highest rates of asthma. In contrast, more remote areas of Africa and South American have almost no allergy cases.
Dr. Rotskoff goes on to explain that genetics play a larger role in allergic skin conditions like eczema. "Eczema is caused by a genetic deficiency in the skin barrier, so it may be that the adjustment to new climates, cleansers, and foods exposes this tendency," he says. Eczema is caused by excessive water loss that results in scaly, itchy patches on the arms and legs.
Eczema can be controlled by limiting exposure to allergens and using topical creams when flare-ups occur. The good news, according to Dr. Rotskoff, is that many children outgrow eczema.
Even environmental allergies can be successfully treated for a permanent allergy cure. Allergy testing followed by a tailored immunotherapy regimen of allergy drops or allergy shots can essentially cure patients of their environmental allergies in three to five years.
The pediatric allergy study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, February 2013, http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(12)03177-6/fulltext, included a review of more than 90,000 children ages 0 through 17. The birthplace distinction was evident across all ages, races, ethnicities, and genders.
Clarity Allergy Center specializes in all aspect of asthma and allergy diagnosis and treatment. Their three convenient offices are located throughout Chicago and Arlington Heights: 60133, 60159, 60120, 60094, 60056, 60714, and 60005. www.clarityallergycenter.com773-877-3500
Source: Clarity Allergy Center