Food allergies can be serious and life-threatening, but until recently there has been very little research or information on what causes them and how to treat them. A new study has found a surprising link between allergies and a common household item almost every parent uses: baby wipes. Begging the question, do baby wipes cause food allergies?
A recent study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found a connection between skin exposure and the development of infant and childhood food allergies. It’s not as simple as baby wipes causing allergies, however. The findings suggest that a combination of certain genetic factors and skin exposure can lead to the onset of food allergies in babies and kids. Those specific genetics cause a skin barrier dysfunction so that when babies are exposed to things like baby wipes that leave soap on the skin, allergens and dust or even certain foods, a reaction is triggered.
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“This is a recipe for developing food allergy,” said lead study author Joan Cook-Mills, a professor of allergy-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “It’s a major advance in our understanding of how food allergy starts early in life.”
The good news is with a cause identified, there are steps parents can take to help minimize their baby’s risk of developing food allergies. “Reduce baby’s skin exposure to the food allergens by washing your hands before handling the baby,” Cook-Mills suggests. “Limit use of infant wipes that leave soap on the skin. Rinse soap off with water like we used to do years ago.”
Cook-Mills is currently continuing her research to hopefully determine the specific skin signs of this genetic dysfunction in order to be able to more easily intervene early and prevent the food allergies from developing.
Do your kids have food allergies? Tell us your thoughts on this study in the comments.
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