When will my child outgrow egg allergy is a common question asked by parents. Previous studies have shown that 80% of egg and milk allergy and 20% of peanut and tree nut allergy resolve by adulthood. Currently allergists are unable to accurately predict whether food allergy will resolve naturally.
Presently egg allergy is established by skin prick tests or serum specific IgE lab testing. A recent study aimed to describe the natural history of food allergy across the first 6 years of life.
Over 5000 children were recruited at 1 year of age and undergone skin testing and food challenges to 4 common food allergens. At age 6 they returned for follow up testing, the findings included:
- Nearly 1/3 of peanut allergy resolved by 6 years of age (29%), but the overall number of peanut allergic kids remained the same (3.1%) because of new onset peanut allergy in those who were previously tolerant. New onset peanut allergy occurred in 0.7% of those who were tolerant at age 1 year.
- The majority of egg allergy (89%) naturally resolved by age 6 years. Late onset egg allergy was rare. The prevalence of egg allergy at 6 years was 1.2%. The prevalence of egg allergy substantially reduced and new onset egg allergy after age 1 was rare.
- Infants with larger skin prick test wheal size, early onset severe eczema or multiple food sensitizations and/or allergies were less likely to outgrow egg allergy or peanut allergy by age of 6 years.
The prevalence of egg allergy (not baked) was 1.2% at 6 years of age, which is substantially less than the 9% prevalence reported at age 1, and late onset egg allergy was rare. The findings showed that 89% of egg allergy resolved by age 6. Around half of egg allergy cases had already resolved by age 2 years and 80% had resolved by age 4 years.
Infants with eczema and multiple food sensitizations or allergies and large skin prick tests are less likely to outgrow egg allergy. Future research of these patients with disease modifying interventions to help them develop tolerance would yield the most benefit of health care resources and funding.