Prevention of allergic disease during childhood by allergen avoidance: the Isle of Wight prevention study.J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007; 119(2):307-13JA
Early life allergen exposure may increase the risk of childhood allergy, but the protective effect of reduction in allergen exposure remains uncertain.
To evaluate the effect of reduction in food and house dust mite (HDM) allergen exposure in infancy in preventing asthma and allergy.
Infants, at higher risk because of family predisposition, were recruited prenatally and randomized to prophylactic (n = 58) and control (n = 62) groups. Prophylactic group infants were either breast-fed with mother on a low allergen diet or given an extensively hydrolyzed formula. Exposure to HDM was reduced by the use of an acaricide and mattress covers. The control group followed standard advice. Development of allergic diseases and sensitization to common allergens (atopy) was assessed blindly at ages 1, 2, 4, and 8 years in all 120 children.
Repeated measurement analysis, adjusted for all relevant confounding variables, confirmed a preventive effect on asthma: adjusted odds ratio (OR), 0.24; 95% CI, 0.09-0.66; P = .005; atopic dermatitis, OR, 0.23; CI, 0.08-0.64; P = .005; rhinitis, OR, 0.42; CI, 0.19-0.92; P = .03; and atopy, OR, 0.13; CI, 0.05-0.32; P < .001. The protective effect was primarily observed in the subgroup of children with persistent disease (symptoms at all visits) and in those with evidence of allergic sensitization.
Allergic diseases can be reduced, for at least the first 8 years of life, by combined food and HDM allergen avoidance in infancy.
Strict food and HDM allergen avoidance should be considered for prevention of allergy in high-risk infants.