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Experts warn of allergy to food, baby’s milk

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Experts warn of allergy to food, babyâs milk
PSAAI diplomate Ma. Cristina Edquilang said yesterday they have seen increasing cases of food allergies, especially among babies who were given cow milk protein.
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MANILA, Philippines — Experts from the Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (PSAAI) have warned the public on the rising cases of food allergies, especially to infant formula, that have been observed in the country.  

PSAAI diplomate Ma. Cristina Edquilang said yesterday they have seen increasing cases of food allergies, especially among babies who were given cow milk protein.

She advised mothers to exclusively breastfeed their infants for six months not only to protect them against allergies, but to also strengthen the bond between mother and child. 

Edquilang noted in a health forum that they have observed more babies now with atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, which is associated with food allergy.

“Usually atopic dermatitis appears on the first few months of life so what is the food they usually encounter (during this period)? It’s milk. And unless the mom is breastfeeding, the baby can have some reaction to the milk,” she added.

Edquilang claimed it could not be explained yet why this happened.  

“We actually still don’t know why the physiology of their immune system is said to be reacting overly (to allergens).”  

PSAAI public relations officer Felicia Racquel Tayag said the increasing number of food allergy in the country could also be traced to various factors. 

Tayag added there are theories that the allergy to seafoods could be due to pollution in the ocean.  

On the other hand, the injection of antibiotic and growth hormones on cows and chickens is suspected to contribute to a person’s development of allergies. 

Global problem

Citing the State of the World Allergy Report 2008, Edquilang said allergy is a major problem in the 21st century and it is predicted to worsen.

In 2008, there were some 500 million people with some form of allergy and this rose to 1.4 billion in 2012.

Worldwide, some 200 million to 250 million people suffer from food allergies.  

The most common foods that people get allergies from include nuts, seafood, vegetables, cow’s milk and eggs.  

Edquilang maintained there is no laboratory test that could predict who will develop allergy later in life. However, genes and environment are the common factors that make one predisposed to allergies. 

She added that while allegies could be incurable, they could be managed, primarily by identifying and avoiding the triggers or allergens.  

ASTHMA AND IMMUNOLOGY

FOOD ALLERGIES

PHILIPPINE SOCIETY OF ALLERGY

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