Allergies in children

I always thought lactose intolerance was something made up by the American media, some strange milk related disease given to the nerdy kid to add to his humiliation, for I had never in my entire life met someone who was lactose intolerant. In recent years however, rates of lactose intolerance, and other allergies to completely normal foods like eggs, have risen dramatically here in Britain. Unlike in America, where people often have a rather mixed heritage, often with Africans or natives, here in Britain these allergies are coming from white children with no family history of such things. Where are these allergies coming from? At first I thought this may be due to increased use of formula, but it’s hard to make any conclusions on the data that I’ve found: Initial breastfeeding in 6-8 weeks has gone up by a conciderable amount in the past two decades, this seems to drop off exponentially though, with rates of children being breastfed up to 6 months is remarkably low at just 1%, whilst in countries such as Norway it’s over 70%. Breastfeeding, although certainly a positive, is probably not the cause of this, as multiple studies in Sweden have found increasing allergies amongst children, specifically to milk and eggs. Similar things have been found in Australia (with similarly high rates of breastfeeding to Norway and Sweden) where children are five times as likely to have allergies as adults.

The hygiene hypothesis is a rather popular one, that we are simply too cleanly these days, and that we wrap our children up in bubble wrap so much, that the second they set food outside they start sneezing. This hypothesis has some 30 years of research behind it, with lots of mixed results. One that I found interesting however was that children with pets were significantly more likely to not have allergies. (There are many saying this is due to covid, however this trend has been going on for over a decade now).

Maybe there is some horrible chemical in both formula and normal food which passes into the breastmilk which is causing all this. Maybe the rapeseed oil haters are correct. Maybe the microplastics which are undoubtedly in the cows and chickens are causing all this.

Another interesting thing to note is that children are likely to grow out of milk and egg allergies much more than something like a peanut or shellfish allergy, which may mean this will become something common like eczma, which children tend to grow out of.

This was originally meant to be the second half of the blogpost written by the lovely Kentish lady, however I didn’t feel they really fit together so I separated them. I didn’t cite any sources because I’m lazy :3