Expert Q&A

Food allergies: Do children outgrow them?

Is it true that as children get older some of their food allergies will simply go away?

Yes, it is true. An estimated 4-6%of infants and 1-2% of children are diagnosed with food allergies. Some infants are sensitive to certain foods and reactions to these foods may include rash, wheezing, diarrhea, or vomiting. Most babies will outgrow these reactions during infancy once their digestive and immune systems mature. Occasionally food allergies will persist into childhood, but even then most children will outgrow these allergies by the time they are adults.

Some foods are more likely than others to cause an allergic reaction. Milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, shrimp, peanuts, and tree nuts (such as walnuts) are the most common food allergens, causing 90% of allergic reactions. Among these, allergies to egg, milk, soy, and wheat are often outgrown. A peanut allergy lasts for life and requires special attention.

If you suspect that your child has food allergies but he or she has not been officially diagnosed, it is worth a trip to the allergist to find out for sure. Since food allergies are relatively uncommon, you could be unnecessarily restricting your child’s intake. There are several methods of allergy testing, the most common being the skin-prick test and a blood test. The skin-prick test uses small amounts of diluted food extracts and tests them on the skin to see if there is a reaction. Blood tests can also be done to test for antibodies, which indicate there has been an allergic reaction.

For more information on ways to risk reduction the risk of food allergies in kids see the following articles from TheDietChannel: How to Reduce the Risk of Food Allergies in Children and Natural Feeding Guide For Preventing Food Allergies.

Erica Lesperance, RD, LD
Contributing Expert

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