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Preventing development of allergic disorders in children

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 31 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:485
  1. Chantelle Anandan, research fellow1,
  2. Aziz Sheikh, professor of primary care research and development (
  1. 1 Division of Community Health Sciences: GP Section, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9DX
  1. Correspondence to: A Sheikh

    A 33 year old woman is planning to have a baby and asks you for advice. She wants to know what she can do to reduce the risk of her baby developing allergies.

    What issues you should cover

    Defining allergy—What does she mean by allergic problems? Are there any conditions that particularly concern her? Understanding of allergy differs widely between professionals and the public, so it may help to clarify her ideas and concerns.

    Risk of the baby developing allergic conditions—Babies born into households where one or more first degree relative (mother, father, or siblings) manifest atopic allergic conditions—the most common are eczema, allergic rhinitis, asthma, and food allergy—are at a much higher risk. If one parent is affected the risk is about 50%, increasing to 75% if …

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