Can your child outgrow food allergies?

As a parent of a child with food allergies, it can be stressful constantly making sure your child is safe around food. You have to notify their school so they know which treats cannot be served in the classroom. You have to make sure other parents know of their allergy so they don’t serve snacks that could potentially trigger an allergic reaction. 

Food allergies affect about 5.6 million children and cause 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths each year. But many times food allergies don’t persist for a lifetime, especially for those who are allergic to milk, egg, soy and wheat allergies.

For example, a child may have an egg or milk allergy but can eat those foods in baked form, such as a muffin, without experiencing any type of allergic reaction. Studies suggest they likely will be able to tolerate plain eggs or milk in the future. In fact, about 80% to 90% of egg, milk, soy and wheat allergies disappear by the time a child reaches 5 years old.

The same can happen with other foods; although, it’s less common among people with allergies to tree nuts, fish and shellfish, and only 1 in 5 children outgrow a peanut allergy.

If it seems your child has outgrown a food allergy, consider consulting with a doctor or going to an allergy clinic. Your kiddo will likely undergo an oral test to verify whether an allergy has disappeared. Typically, this type of test involves eating small amounts of the trigger food while under close supervision to watch for any allergic reactions.

Allergic reactions can appear as quickly as within a few minutes or as slowly as two hours after consuming that food item and can vary from itchy and uncomfortable rashes or hives to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction which impairs a person’s breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.

While some food allergies may follow your child into adulthood, don’t be surprised if they can all of a sudden tolerate foods they were allergic to once upon a time.

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