I found an article from NPR commenting on how it is common for children to outgrow their food allergies. The study explains a new test, called a food challenge, that is used to determine if one no longer has an allergy. Basically, whoever is being looked at will eat the food that they were once allergic to and see if there is any reaction. Of course this test is done under medical supervision, and the person of interest begins with eating essentially a crumb. If that goes well they can move up to a larger portion and “pass” once a certain amount is hit such as a whole egg for those allergic to eggs. Out of the over 6,000 patients the study assessed, 86% of them passed, 14% has a mild reaction (symptoms treated with Benadryl or an antihistamine), and only 2% had serious reactions (needing epinephrine). That being said, these patients were low risk to begin with.
Based on the information in the article, this seems like a great discovery in the realm of food allergies. According to the article, the two tests used prior to the discovery of the food challenge test weren’t all that revealing and apparently just showed doctors how likely their patients were to react to a certain food. With this new test, physicians are able to know exactly how your body will react when it is ingested. Considering that is what happens when we come in contact with food normally, the food challenge seems like the best test available.
One thing that is a little confusing to me, is why so many people do outgrow their food allergies. The article says that depending on the allergy, anywhere between 20-80% of children will eventually be able to eat a food they once reacted to no problem. Is it because as children grow they are exposed to their allergen and develop an immunity? Or is something secreted within our bodies as we age that makes us better at fighting off these allergies? I know this probably a whole other topic, but it would have been nice for the article to touch on this just a little bit more.