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Can You Grow Out of Food Allergies?

Hallelujah! Children Can Outgrow Food Allergies, but There's a Catch

Having a child with food allergies adds an extra level of stress to day-to-day activities. Are they going to have a bad reaction to a dish if we go out to eat? And am I absolutely sure I have their EpiPens with me? Thankfully, there may be a silver lining for some parents: children can potentially grow out of their allergies, depending on which ones they have.

"It's expected that most children with milk, egg, wheat, and soy allergies will outgrow them at some point, often by school age," Dr. David Stukus, a pediatric allergist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, told POPSUGAR. "Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of children with seafood, peanut, or tree nut allergies will develop tolerance as they get older. This is important for parents to understand as children should be observed and likely retested every year to see if their allergies may be going away."

Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, agrees that parents should consult a certified allergist to monitor their children's allergies. "It's possible with any allergen but requires yearly monitoring of blood and/or skin tests and an oral-graded food challenge by a board-certified allergist. You should not test if your child has outgrown on your own at home. Milk and eggs are most commonly outgrown. Peanut allergies are a bit harder to outgrow, but it's possible."

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My Kids' Food Allergies reports there are several additional factors that go into whether kids will outgrow their allergies. They have a higher chance of doing so if:

  • Their first allergic reaction occurred very early in life.
  • They're only allergic to one food.
  • They've never had a severe reaction.
  • They have a Caucasian background.
  • They're boys.

And while between 60 and 80 percent of kids will outgrow milk, egg, wheat, and soy allergies by the time they're 16, peanut and tree nuts are an entirely different story.

According to a Canadian study, the window for kids to outgrow their nut allergy is pretty short-lived. Researchers found that most children who ever outgrow their peanut allergies do so by 6 years old. The same study also found that once kids with nut allergies turn 10, they're likely stuck with the allergy for life.

Image Source: Flickr user Aoife Mac
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