Food Allergies: Which Ones Stay and Which Ones Fade Away
Food allergies are funny things, and I certainly don’t mean “haha.”
We don’t know why our children get them. We don't know why they suddenly appear and then if we're lucky enough... disappear. My then toddler son started out with food allergies to tree nuts, eggs and fish. Along the way we added two more, coconut and sesame, but not before eliminated a big one.. eggs! What a great day that was - when he did the food challenge at the allergist's office and happily ate scrambled eggs for the first time.
At our most recent allergist visit we were surprisingly shocked (or should I say shockingly surprised) to learn that his most recent blood work showed his IGE numbers with regards to his nut allergy to be significantly lower then in the past AND that there was a chance that he could outgrow his nut allergy by the time he goes to college! Something I never thought I would hear. So we are possibly in the minority when it comes outgrowing a "lifetime" allergen (more on this below). Possibly. As of today, he still very much has a life threatening allergy to nuts - I know this for sure because just a month ago we found ourselves in the ER with his worst anaphylactic episode ever after he unknowingly ate some bread not realizing it had walnuts in it :( Looking back at this episode, perhaps we were so caught up in the potential excitement of the future, we let our guard down a bit. Another lesson learned.
My fingers will remain crossed for the next several years :)
On the subject of outgrowing allergies I thought it would be helpful to put a little list together.
Likely LIFETIME allergies:
- PEANUTS – Approximately only one out of five children will outgrow this allergy.
- TREE NUTS – More than 90% of children will have to avoid this allergen forever.
- FISH – A large number of people don’t have a reaction to fish until they’re adults, so kids with this allergy should plan to keep it.
- SHELLFISH – The same thing for fish applies to shellfish, since more than half acquire the allergy in adulthood.
According to Dr. Jennifer Sherman, a physician with Allergy & Asthma Specialists, PC, in Saddle River, NJ, allergies that tend to be more SHORT LIVED are:
EGG, WHEAT, DAIRY and SOY.
Of their timeline, Dr. Sherman commented, “Children used to grow out of these by the time they started school, but it can happen later than we originally anticipated, even up to ages 12 or 13.”
So how do you know your child’s allergic status? Dr. Sherman said, “We stay on top of the numbers, both on the skin test and in blood work. Skin testing can stay positive even after the allergy is outgrown, but if we see those numbers are significantly lower than before and the numbers on the blood work have trended down, too, we’ll administer an oral challenge in the office by giving the child their allergen and then monitoring for any reaction.”
Ben and I.
Will he be in the 10%? I sure hope so :)
Of course we are talking about allergies here and nothing is ever guaranteed or makes too much sense however the importance of staying in touch with your child’s allergist, no matter which list your child’s allergen is on, is evident. Hey, you may even discover some potentially amazing news like I did!!!!! I pray that you do.
It's best not to take matters into your own hands or leave anything to chance. Even if your child is on the “lifetime” list, don’t get down. First of all, you’ve most likely already laid the foundation for a safe and healthy life AND I truly believe a solution will be finalized in our children's lifetime :)
What's been your experience...? Any new allergens or hopefully, ones that have gone away. Please share...
Wishing your family safety,
Iris Shamus Wife, mother to three awesome kids and founder/CEO of AllerMates. Based in New York, Iris and her team create helpful content, create and ship their products and obsess every day about keeping families safe.