Will My Child Outgrow Allergies?

Will My Child Outgrow Allergies?

If your child has an allergy of any kind, it can be difficult to help them avoid the allergen and learn to manage symptoms and reactions. You may be wondering about the future of your child’s allergy and whether or not they’ll always have it. 

Our dedicated team here at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medicine in Bel Air, Maryland specializes in comprehensive pediatric care, including support for allergies. We offer allergy testing for kids and teens alike so you can identify the underlying cause of your child’s symptoms and ensure your child receives the treatment they need to stay comfortable. 

So, can you expect your child’s allergies to go away eventually? The answer is complicated.

Good news for some food allergies, bad news for others

Roughly one in 13 kids have a food allergy of some kind. Building a healthy diet around a food allergy and avoiding cross-contamination can be challenging for some families. 

Many food allergies come with severe symptoms and the risk of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction. Milder food allergies may not be as much of a risk to your child’s wellbeing, but they can still pose problems for your child at restaurants, school, or the grocery store. 

Fortunately, many common food allergies are likely to disappear sometime during adolescence. While it’s impossible to predict for sure whether or not your child’s food allergies may continue into adulthood, examining the statistics can offer some helpful insight. 

About 80% of kids with allergies to foods like eggs, wheat, milk, and soy eventually grow out of their allergies, usually by the time they turn 16 years old. These are among the eight most common food allergies. 

The four other most common food allergies are peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish. While the prognosis for a childhood peanut allergy is more positive than the others, none are very likely to go away. Your child has about a 20-25% chance of losing their peanut allergy before adulthood, but the other three allergens are likely to pose a risk for the rest of your child’s life. 

What to expect with non-food allergies

Many children have allergies that have nothing to do with food. Your child may be allergic to airborne substances like pollen or pet dander, or specific materials like metals or latex. 

Again, it’s impossible to predict whether or not your child may outgrow these allergies by the time they reach adulthood. However, naturally growing out of an allergy is possible if your child’s immune system is repeatedly exposed to small amounts of the allergen. 

This is the same principle that makes immunotherapy effective for eliminating allergies slowly over time. It’s also similar to the function of some vaccines, which introduce pathogens to your body to allow your immune system to learn to fight them. 

Allergies versus intolerance

It’s important to make the distinction between allergies and intolerances. While allergies cause symptoms like hives, rashes, sniffling, itching, and anaphylaxis, food intolerances cause symptoms like stomach pain and diarrhea. Food intolerances involve your child’s digestive system, not their immune system. 

You don’t need to take as much care to avoid foods that cause intolerance symptoms, because while those symptoms aren’t comfortable, they’re not a major threat to your child’s health. Some people can outgrow intolerances if they gradually introduce the culprit food into their diets. 

Being proactive

Only time can tell if your child’s allergy is for life or if it may go away. The most important thing you can do is make sure your child has the tools and treatments to manage their allergy and avoid a severe reaction. For allergy testing and treatment, schedule your visit at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medicine with a phone call or book online today.

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