Can an Allergy Be Hereditary?

Allergies are common in developed nations. In fact, roughly one quarter of US citizens suffer from allergies. Studies indicate that allergies can be hereditary. A child is 50 percent more likely to have allergies if one parent has them, and that probability doubles if both parents have allergies.

Hereditary allergies are not specific. A mother who is allergic to cats may pass down her allergies, but the child may not be allergic to cats specifically. Inherited allergies only mean that the child will more than likely have a low tolerance to different allergens, but they do not mean that the parent and child will share all of the same allergies.

Parents who have food allergies may want to have their children tested for different food allergies. Parents with mild allergic reactions to food can ask their doctor about giving small amounts to their child. Parents who have sever reactions, however, need to have an allergist test their child for the hereditary allergen. An allergist will be able to administer the appropriate medication if the allergy is severe.

Fortunately, most children grow out of food allergies. There is nothing you can do to fight off food allergies besides keeping your child away from the offending food. However, medical research shows that children who are breastfed are more likely to avoid hereditary food allergies. The longer that a child is breastfed, the less likely the food allergies become.

Other types of hereditary allergies such as to pets or pollen usually require immunotherapy. Allergy shots help children develop an immunity to allergens over time. They work like vaccinations, and a small amount of the allergen is injected into the body. The shots are typically given over the course of three to five years. The dosages of the shots are gradually increased so that the immune system builds up a tolerance to the substance that it perceives as a threat. Allergy shots are extremely effective in fighting the effects of hereditary allergies, and the results are believed to be lasting. Parents who invest in allergy shots may save their children from seasonal allergies in the future.

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