Six ways to reduce allergy risk in kids

Updated 4:43 PM ET, Wed January 4, 2017
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More than 50 million people in the United States suffer allergies each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Snacking on nuts during the first year of life may reduce the risk of a nut allergy in children, studies show. Previously, parents of high-risk children had been advised to delay their introduction of peanuts.
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Some studies have linked certain objects or behaviors to the possible reduction of allergy risk. One new paper, for instance, suggests that children who suck their thumbs or bite their nails may have reduced risk of developing allergies. Harold M. Lambert/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Many medical authorities, such as the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, recommend breast-feeding, as breast milk provides important vitamins and nutrients to an infant. Some research shows that breastfeeding for at least four to six months may strengthen a baby's immune system and, as a result, be helpful in avoiding allergies. George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
Children's risk for developing allergies and asthma may be reduced when they are exposed to a pet, such as a dog or cat, in the household early in infancy. Researchers suspect that early exposure to certain pet allergens or bacteria might strengthen the immune system. Dawson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Research suggests that exposure to air pollution during the first year of a child's life increases the risk of developing allergies to food, mold, pets and pests. Therefore, fresh air might help in avoiding sensitivity to allergens. Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images
What a woman eats during pregnancy may reduce allergy risk in her child. Some studies show that a diet rich in vitamin D, such as milk, eggs or mushrooms, is associated with a reduced risk of the baby developing allergies. Chaloner Woods/Hulton Archive/Getty Images