Do Children Grow Out of Allergies?
Itchy eyes, runny nose, bloating, gas, hives: Allergies can cause a wide variety of uncomfortable symptoms in kids and adults alike.
Just like adults, children can develop allergies to things like pollen, pet dander, grass, dust, and food. Food allergies are very common in children, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 8% of children have a food allergy.
Food allergies aren’t the only allergy to affect children. An estimated 6 million children are diagnosed with hay fever, and 8 million are diagnosed with skin allergies.
Regardless of what type of allergy your child has, it’s normal to wonder whether your child will ever grow out of it.
At Pediatric Care of Four Corners, our medical director, Eiman ElSayed, MD, wants you to feel empowered when it comes to your child’s allergy management. We’ve created this guide to explore the topic and highlight how we can help.
Is it possible to outgrow allergies?
The answer is yes. It’s possible to outgrow allergies, but not everyone does. The probability of outgrowing allergies depends primarily on what type of allergy your child has and how severe it is.
Anywhere from 60-80% of children with milk and/or egg allergies outgrow their allergy. On the other hand, only 5% of children with a shellfish allergy outgrow it. Peanut allergies fall in the middle of those stats, with about 20% of children outgrowing the allergy.
What does it mean to outgrow the allergy?
When you have an allergy to a specific substance, your body has an immune system response to a normally harmless substance.
For instance, if your child is allergic to pollen and then goes outside on a high pollen day, their immune system is revved up and produces immunoglobulin E antibodies, which can cause anything from itchy hives to a runny nose and sneezing.
Sometimes small doses of the allergen can help the body learn how to tolerate the allergen. This is similar to how vaccines work.
When a child outgrows the allergy, it means that their body has learned to tolerate the allergen, and their immune system doesn’t react the same way as before.
How do you know if your child outgrows an allergy?
Because severe allergies can cause anaphylactic shock, it’s a good idea to avoid challenging your child with exposure to the allergen unless directed to do so. To get a good idea of whether your child has outgrown an allergy, we suggest:
- A review of your child’s medical history
- A blood and/or skin prick test
- Food challenges (if the allergen in question is a food)
If you are reintroducing foods to your child, always do so under the direct supervision of a medical professional. And have a plan in place for allergic reactions, such as knowing when to administer Benadryl or an EpiPen, and when to call 911.
Can you help your child outgrow allergies?
Yes, although technically, the process is called immunotherapy. If you need help managing your child’s allergies, immunotherapy can help reduce the severity and intensity of your child’s reactions.
Immunotherapy, sometimes called allergy shots, is the process by which we inject a very small amount of the allergen. The body learns to tolerate the allergen over time. Again, it’s a very small amount, but over the years, your child can experience fewer allergy symptoms.
The importance of managing allergies
Even if your child doesn’t outgrow their allergies, we can help your child feel more comfortable. Allergies, including outdoor and seasonal allergies, can trigger asthma, create discomfort, and make playing outside (or even inside) not so fun.
We can determine the cause of your child’s allergies and then recommend the appropriate treatments, from oral medications to fast-acting medications to immunotherapy.
Get relief with our on-site allergy services
At Pediatric Care of Four Corners, our allergy services are provided on-site, including the skin prick test. If your child is suffering from allergies or you’d like to determine if your child has outgrown allergies, we can help.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. ElSayed, call us at our Davensport, Florida, office or request an appointment using our online tool.