Avoiding allergens can be difficult, especially when you’ve got a little one who might not fully understand why they can’t eat certain delicious things. Will your child ever be able to experience the world without fear of allergies?
It depends on the allergy
Although a child could theoretically outgrow any allergy, some are more likely to be outgrown than others. Research indicates that allergies to dairy, eggs, soy, and wheat are the most commonly outgrown allergies. It’s also apparent that children with a dairy or egg allergy who can have dairy or eggs in a baked form are likely to grow out of their allergies altogether down the road. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s believed that between 60 and 80% of young children with a milk or egg allergy will outgrow it by age 16.
Other allergies are less likely to be outgrown. This includes peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. It’s also no coincidence that these allergies tend to cause more serious reactions than do dairy, eggs, soy, and wheat. The Mayo Clinic states that only about 20% of children with peanut allergies will outgrow them. This figure drops to just 14% for those allergic to tree nuts, and down to just 4 or 5% for those with an allergy to fish or shellfish.
All in all, the likelihood of outgrowing an allergy depends on on the type of allergy and the child who has it.
It is sometimes possible to eliminate the body’s allergic response to an allergen, or reduce the symptoms associated with it, through allergy immunotherapy, or “allergy shots.” Allergy shots aren’t available for food allergies, but can be very helpful for treating environmental or respiratory allergies or allergies to insect stings, which can be sudden, serious, and hard to avoid.
Allergy immunotherapy shots function like vaccines, but require a lot more maintenance. A few times a week, over a period of several months, an allergist injects a small dosage of the affecting allergen into a patient. By slowly increasing the amount of allergen injected, a tolerance can build up until the patient’s immune system no longer reacts negatively to the stimulus.
Because it’s so time intensive, and there are a number of risks associated, this isn’t something your healthcare provider is likely to recommend for just any allergy. However, it’s good to know that there are options outside of crossing your fingers and hoping that Baby outgrows what he is allergic to.
You should always talk to his doctor if you have any questions about allergies, whether food or environmental.
- Fleischer DM, Conover-Walker MK, Matsui EC, Wood RA. “The Natural History of Tree Nut Allergy.” J Allergy Clin Immunol, Vol 116, No.5. 2005.
- “Food Allergy.” AAAAI.org. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. 2016. Web.
- “Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy).” AAAAI.org. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. 2016. Web.
- Nancy Ott, M.D. “Likelihood of Child Outgrowing Food Allergy Depends of Type, Severity of Allergy.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, July 2013. Web.