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Will my child outgrow her egg allergy?

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Updated February 08, 2009

Question: Will my child outgrow her egg allergy?
Answer:

Outgrow Egg Allergy

Egg allergy is the second most common food allergy, affecting up to 2% of young children. While it is second only to milk as the most common form of food allergy affecting all individuals, egg allergy is the most common food allergy occurring in children with atopic dermatitis.

Multiple studies have shown that about half of children with egg allergy will outgrow their allergy by 4 to 5 years of age. A significant proportion of children will therefore continue to be allergic to eggs at least until their adolescent or teenager years, and some may never outgrow their egg allergy.

Recently, a large study of over 880 children with egg allergy showed that outgrowing egg allergy may not be as common as previously thought. This study showed that children with allergic rhinitis, asthma or other common food allergies are less likely to outgrow egg allergy.

The percentage of previously egg-allergic children who could tolerate eggs varied by age, according to the study:

  • 4% by age 4
  • 12% by age 6
  • 37% by age 10
  • 68% by age 16

The most helpful predictor of outgrowing egg allergy was the level of allergic antibody to egg measured in the blood (RAST), with a level less than 2 kU/L (kiliunits per liter) being most predictive of having outgrown egg allergy. Conversely, an allergic antibody level to egg of greater than 50 kU/L was most predictive of a person continuing to be allergic to eggs until adulthood.

Most allergists find that following the allergic RAST antibody level to egg is very helpful in determining when a child may have outgrown egg allergy and when he or she may be ready for an oral food challenge under medical supervision.

Unfortunately, some children may never outgrow their egg allergy, and their food allergy may persist into adulthood, or even indefinitely.

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Source:

Savage JH, Matsui EC, Skripak JM, Wood RA. The Natural History of Egg Allergy. 2007; 120:1413-7.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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