Share This Page

Study: 25% of youths outgrow allergies

| Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, 5:02 p.m.

More than one quarter of American children with a history of food allergies have outgrown their sensitivities and can tolerate the foods that once made them sick, a new analysis shows.

Yet black children, kids with multiple allergies and those with histories of severe reactions are less likely than other kids to recover. Kids with allergies to nuts or fish don't fare as well as those with allergies to eggs, milk, soy and wheat. And kids with those easier-to-overcome allergies don't outgrow them as quickly as observed in earlier generations of children, says Ruchi Gupta, associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Doctors used to see children growing out of milk allergies in preschool years. But now “we see kids really holding on to milk allergies,” sometimes into teen years, says Gupta, who presented the unpublished data at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Anaheim, Calif. The reasons for that shift — and the recent increases in child food allergies — are unknown, she says.

Gupta and her colleagues collected data on 40,000 children and teens nationwide to find 4,433 with current or former food allergies. As the researchers have previously reported, about 8 percent of children in the nation have food allergies.

The report says 3 percent had food allergies in the past but did not have them at the time of the survey. For example, 41 percent of milk allergies, 40 percent of egg allergies, 16 percent of peanut allergies and 13 percent of shellfish allergies had been outgrown. The rates get higher as kids age. So 55 percent of kids older than age 10 with a history of egg allergy no longer had the problem, Gupta says.

“Most kids develop tolerance by age 10, but tolerance can develop at any age,” she says. “There's always hope.”

The tolerance rates found in the study are in line with what allergists experience in their offices and what other research has shown, says Scott Sicherer, professor of pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.