It’s the hope of all parents of kids with food allergies that their children will outgrow their allergies. Food allergies can cause such stress and anxiety due to the life-threatening nature of an anaphylactic reaction, and to no longer have to worry about such an outcome would mean breathing a huge sigh of relief.
Which Food Allergies Are Usually Outgrown?
According to allergists, milk, egg, wheat and soy allergies are most likely to be outgrown by the age of 16. Anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of children with these allergies won’t have them as adults. Egg allergy reportedly has the highest likelihood of being outgrown out of all of the Top 8 Allergens.
Peanut allergies are outgrown in about 20 percent of children, tree nut in approximately 15 percent, and fish and shellfish allergies in only around 5 percent.
Less common food allergies may also be outgrown, but research on food allergies apart from the Top 8 Allergens is limited.
What Other Factors Determine Whether a Child Will Outgrow an Allergy?
Aside from the specific food allergy itself, researchers have noticed trends in other factors, which may indicate that some children have an even greater likelihood of outgrowing allergies than others.
- Children whose first allergic reaction occurred very early in life were more likely to outgrow their allergy than children whose first reaction occurred at a later age.
- Children allergic to only a single food were more likely to outgrow their allergy.
- Children who never experienced severe reactions were more likely to outgrow their food allergy.
- Children of a Caucasian background were more likely to outgrow their food allergy.
- Boys were more likely to outgrow their food allergy.
So hypothetically, if your child is a Caucasian boy who is only allergic to milk, had his first reaction at a very young age and has only ever had a skin rash as a symptom, chances are he’ll outgrow his allergy.
Is There a Safe Way to Test Whether a Food Allergy Has Been Outgrown?
Never try to give your child some of his or her food allergen without first consulting your allergist. There are safe ways to test whether a food allergy has been outgrown.
Simply put, your child is simply retested for food allergies using the same procedure that diagnosed him or her in the first place.
If your child does indeed still have egg or milk allergies, you may consider asking the allergist whether it is advisable to test tolerance to baked eggs and milk. Some children can tolerate egg and milk in baked goods, and this tolerance is a promising sign that the allergy will eventually be outgrown.
For allergies with a lower likelihood of reversal, oral immunotherapy is a new way for an allergist to help children safely increase their tolerance. Talk to your allergist to find out if this therapy is available in your area.