Allergies can be a terror for children, but there’s hope. Renown Pediatrician Vanessa Slots, MD, says it’s possible for kids to outgrow them.
Have you ever been told you were allergic to something as a kid, but were too young to remember it? Or all throughout your childhood, your parents kept you away from certain foods like eggs, milk or nuts or wouldn’t let you get a puppy because your eyes would swell up or you broke out in hives.
This happens to many people. So why is it, years later, when you mistakenly eat something that has an “allergic ingredient” or pet a friend’s dog nothing happens?
You can outgrow your allergies.
According to the American Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans have an allergy of some kind with food allergies affecting an estimated 4 to 6 percent of children.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says that more than one-quarter of children in the United States with a history of a food allergy will outgrow it and most will do it by age 10.
A food allergy is discovered when your immune system overreacts to a food or a substance in a food, identifying it as a danger and triggering a protective response, such as itching or swelling of the mouth, lips, throat, hives and eczema or breathing difficulties.
But just like people can outgrow allergies, they can also grow into new ones. Dr. Slots says the addition of a pet or moving to a different region can trigger new allergies.
So how can you tell if you have developed new allergies or if you’ve outgrown them? Dr. Slots says your primary care physician can diagnose allergies by your history and physical exams in the office.
“The gold standard for allergy testing involves a scratch test administered usually by a specialist,” says Dr. Slots. “This is a mildly invasive procedure that is often not tolerated very well by infants and younger children. If allergies are severe, then primary care physicians often encourage testing regardless of age. If allergies are mild-moderate, we often recommend treatment without testing.”