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Immunotherapy During Pregnancy May Cut Children's Allergy Risk

Update Date: Nov 08, 2013 06:29 PM EST

Getting allergy shots during pregnancy may help prevent allergies in children, according to a new study.

New research suggests that expectant mothers who suffer from allergies should think about getting immunotherapy shots.

Researchers found getting immunotherapy during pregnancy may decrease children's risk of developing allergies.

"Our research found trends suggesting women receiving allergy shots either before or during pregnancy reduced their child's chances of having asthma, food allergies, or eczema," allergist Jay Lieberman, MD, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology member said in a news release. "Prior studies have suggested that mothers can pass protective factors to their fetus that may decrease their child's chance of developing allergic disease, and these protective factors are increased with allergy immunotherapy."

There is currently no cure for allergies. However, previous studies revealed that immunotherapy can modify and percent disease progression.

Research reveals that allergies tend to run in families. Children have a 75 percent chance of being allergic if both their parents have allergies. However, if only one parent is allergic, or if a relative has allergies, the child has about a 30 percent to 40 percent chance of having an allergy. If neither parent has allergy, the child will have only a 10 percent to 15 percent chance of becoming allergic.

"More research is needed to understand if mothers can truly prevent allergies in their children by receiving allergy shots during or before pregnancy," said Lieberman. "However, these study results show there is a strong association which is very encouraging as allergists explore this possibility."

"Allergy shots are not only effective but cost efficient," allergist Warner Carr, MD, chair of the ACAAI Immunotherapy and Diagnostics Committee, said in a statement. "Immunotherapy can result in health care savings of 33 to 41 percent."

The findings were presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

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