Whether or not a child develops allergies depends on the family history of allergic disease and degree of exposure to potential allergens. Here are some recommendations from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology for preventing allergies in children:
Delay exposure to allergenic foods. Mothers are advised to breast feed infants with a strong family history of food allergy for at least 4-6 months. Breast feeding also strengthens the child’s immune system thus reducing infections which can also reduce their risk of developing allergies.Children who are not fed breast milk should receive protein hydrolysate formulas such as Alimentum. Milk and soy based formulas should be avoided.
Infants should not be fed solid food until 6 months of age.When they are 6-12 months, they can be fed rice, meat, vegetables, and fruit with each food introduced one at a time over a period of several weeks so it can be observed if the child is reacting to the food. After one year, the child may start eating milk, wheat, corn, citrus, and soy. At age 2, egg can be introduced and at age 3 or older, more potentially allergenic foods such as peanut and fish can be included in the diet.
Airborne Allergies and Asthma
Practice house dust mite avoidance. Reduction of exposure to house dust mites at a young age has been shown to delay or even prevent development of allergic rhinitis and asthma. The data regarding cat and dog exposure is not as clear, and it is recommended that you consult with your allergist to get the most recent information and determine what is best for you and your family.
Avoid smoking during pregnancy and exposing the child to second-hand smoke.Tobacco smoke exposure has been shown to increase the risk of allergies and asthma in children.
Prevent respiratory infections. Increased frequency of colds and other respiratory infections in children have also been shown to increase risk for allergies and asthma. Reducing exposure to other children who can pass infections to infants will reduce their risk.
Link: Childhood Asthma