OPINION: Primary prevention of allergy – Will it soon become a reality?

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Abstract

It is generally accepted that allergic diseases are not curable and not preventable, but mainly controllable using pharmacotherapy (i.e. symptomatic medication). Recent research, however, demonstrated that a number of specific interventions can lead to (partial) primary prevention of allergy, especially of atopic dermatitis (AD) and food allergy (FA). Three types of primary prevention strategies have been successfully studied: early administration of bacterial products (most studies are on probiotics), early moisturizing in infants at risk for AD and early exposure to allergenic foods (peanut and egg). Results of these studies indicate that the stage might have been set. Surely, much more research needs to be carried out before advice can be given in clinical practice. This opinion article discusses the three types of beneficial interventions and gives ideas for future research, which might show the way for better strategies in primary prevention of allergic diseases.

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