Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Doctors to expose babies to dust mites to stop rising allergies

Young babies have developing immune
systems and early exposure may help
prevent future allergies, doctors say.
Medical history has shown that sometimes bold steps are needed to bring about change. 

The doctors at Southampton’s teaching hospitals are planning a new radical investigation to try and stop the rising allergy epidemic that has swept the globe.

Their plan is to expose babies under the age of one to dust mites. 

Since the babies’ immune systems are still developing, the early exposure should help prevent them from developing an allergy in the future, according to their theory.

Dust mites are one of the most common allergens in people’s homes, living in mattresses, carpets, pillows and upholstered furniture.They are the most common trigger for allergies and can produce at least 15 different allergens each. 

Exposure to dust mites has also been linked to aggravated asthma symptoms in children. 

The study is carried out at the respiratory biomedical research unit at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and the David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Center at St Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight.

A total of 120 babies aged between five to nine months who have a family history of allergy will be participating.

Just like in other parts of the developed world, allergies have been on the rise in the UK and affect as many as one in four individuals at some point in their lives. 

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