Can Kids Outgrow Severe Allergies?

It’s stressful for parents who have a child with a severe food or other allergy, since symptoms are often severe and some allergies can be life-threatening. And while experts admit that knowledge in this area is still limited, many food allergies can be outgrown and research into the causes and treatment of allergies is ongoing, according to Everyday Health.

Almost 90 percent of food allergies are caused by eight types of food: peanuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish, milk, tree nuts, and eggs. Of these eight, half — milk, egg, soy, and wheat allergies — are commonly outgrown by about 85 percent of kids during their childhood. The most severe childhood allergies are peanut and tree nut, and the chances a child will outgrow those is smaller: just 20 percent outgrow their allergy to peanuts and 9 percent outgrow the tree nut allergy. Also among allergies kids are unlikely to outgrow are the severe reactions some have to fish and shellfish, but those allergies tend to develop later in a child’s life.

Non-food allergies such as insect stings and venom allergies don’t tend to be outgrown as the child gets older, but allergy shots called allergen immunotherapy can frequently help desensitize the child, greatly reducing the risks associated with an insect sting.

You may suspect that your child is outgrowing a food allergy, but don’t initiate a food challenge on your own. Physicians warn that testing should only be done in a doctor’s office because there is a risk of a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis with severe food allergies. A child with allergies should be tested regularly with a blood test or skin prick that can measure the body’s allergic sensitivity. A decline in this sensitivity and skin reactions over several tests might indicate that a tolerance is developing. At an appropriate time your doctor may recommend giving the child a small amount of the allergen in a controlled setting to check for an allergic reaction.

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