It’s challenging to deal with a child who has multiple allergies. Kids get into so many things, and they may not understand the importance of avoiding certain foods and exposures that could trigger their allergy symptoms. Food allergies in children are on the rise, and it’s not clear why. Some experts believe it’s due to increased awareness and better diagnosis, whereas others attribute it to the hygiene theory, which suggests that kids raised in a more sterile environment are more prone to allergies. Nevertheless, most parents hold out hope that their kids will outgrow their allergy symptoms as they get older. Is this likely?
Do Kids Outgrow Allergy Symptoms?
It’s possible for a child to outgrow allergy symptoms, but a lot of it depends on what type of allergy they have and how severe it is. Kids are more likely to outgrow an allergy to food as opposed to an environmental allergen such as allergies to plants, dust or pets. In fact, environmental allergy symptoms may worsen as a child gets older.
In terms of food allergies, a child is most likely to outgrow allergies to dairy and eggs and less likely to outgrow nut allergies, although up to one in four will. The severity of the symptoms also plays a role in whether a child outgrows allergy symptoms. Kids who have severe symptoms such as wheezing and chest tightness with minimal exposure are less likely to have their symptoms improve with age. Also, if an allergist determines that a child has high levels of IgE antibodies against an allergen, it’s less likely they’ll outgrow it.
Kids Who Outgrow Allergy Symptoms Can Still Have a Recurrence
Even when kids outgrow allergy symptoms, there’s a small chance that the allergy will recur. The risk of this happening is higher if a child continues to avoid the allergen after outgrowing it. Once a child has outgrown an allergy to a particular food, most allergists recommend that the child eat the food frequently and continue to carry an epi-pen just in case.
Outgrowing Childhood Allergies: The Bottom Line?
Kids can outgrow food allergies, especially to milk and eggs. Even when they do, it’s important that they continue to carry an epi-pen to treat a reaction should the problem recur. Talk to your child’s allergy doctor about this.
Mayo Clinic Health Reference. “Peanut Allergy: Can a Child Outgrow It?”
Merck Manual. Eighteenth edition. 2006.