Question about outgrowing allergies


I'm confused...I realize most people practice very strict avoidance of peanuts because of the potentially severe anaphylactic reactions to the smallest amt. Also there is a slim chance the nut allergies will be outgrown. However with the other food allergies, how does strict avoidance of a reaction increase the chance of outgrowing the allergy? I try of course to avoid the allergens, but not at all cost. For example:My daughter eats McDonalds Chicken McNuggets, which contain whey.She doesn't seem to react,or not an obvious reaction, anyway, but she is allergic to milk(anaphylaxis in past). Do these exposures decrease her chance of outgrowing her milk allergy? If so, how?? Thanks! jillsmom

On Mar 6, 2002

I don't know that there is any science to back this theory because I can't remember where I read it, but it goes something like this: Each exposure wakes up those sleeping antibodies, if they stay asleep long enough they might just forget about the allergen and move on. So if you have no exposures, your chance are better for eliminating the allergy than if you have continuous trace exposures.

My ds is only 14 months and I figure its worth trying to avoid his allergens for the next 2-3 years if it will give him the chance to live the rest of his life without having to deal with them. Plus, with peanuts that next trace exposure could be the deadly one, so I'm on constant high alert anyway.

On Mar 6, 2002

Thanks, momjd!It's been alot easier to stay away from peanuts, nuts and eggs than milk. At school, my DD is constantly contacting dairy residue. How then, in comparison do the desensitizations work? And relating to that, my allergies to animal dander always seemed better when we had an animal for a pet! Now that I have been away from pets for awile, when I do go somewhere there is a dog or cat(or horse), my reactions are worse. It really confuses me!

Thanks again momjd for responding... any more insight?

On Mar 6, 2002

Wow you're right I forgot about the desensitization thing, hmmm. I wonder. Maybe someone else has heard more about "how" they grow out of them. I'll have to keep reading.

On Mar 6, 2002

Allergies to animal dander do not have anaphylactic potential, so desensitization is an option.

Allergies to food has anaphylactic potential and each reaction is different and can be different and has the potential to be fatal. Exposure and desensitization is dangerous.

Both are IgE antibody mediated. Long term low level exposure to the allergen with food allergies decreases the likelihood that the allergy will be outgrown.

On Mar 14, 2006


I am having a discussion with my brother in law about how in order for my children to outgrow their allergies they must have strict avoidance to the allergens. Well, he told me that, since he's allergic to bee stings, and they give him the allergen on a monthly basis that that was the way to outgrow it. I have read differently. I am looking for black and white proof to show him that strict avoidance is the only way to outgrow food allergies. If anyone has this information please let me know and if I am wrong please let me know.

Thank you.

On Mar 14, 2006

Can I question the statement that mentions that allergic reactions to dander/and anaphylactic reactions'?

For the majority of those allergic , yes , I would say that reactions to animals is not life threatening. However, there are some that will have a reaction that does have the potenital to be life threatening.


On Mar 14, 2006

Can I make a comment?

A milk allergic person should NOT be eating something with 'whey'.

If they are, and NOT reacting, then:

1) They aren't allergic to milk. 2) They aren't allergic to whey, and are only allergic to, say, other milk proteins, like casein 3) They ARE reacting to whey, and you don't see it. (like eczema, congestion, constipation, etc...)


------------------ [b]* Obsessed * [/b]

On Mar 14, 2006

i wholeheartedly agree with jason!

On Mar 14, 2006


I don't know if my comments will help your or your brother's argument. I guess I have to disagree with your statement that strict avoidance is the ONLY way to eliminate the allergy. There are a few immunotherapy methods for food allergies. Allergy shots are NOT one of those methods. I am not aware of any allergist practicing allergy shots for food allergies because they are considered too dangerous.

melissa's daughter is undergoing a study at Duke which involves ingesting peanut flour. I am afraid I don't know how to link but you can get more info on that study by reading her topic called "Invited to participate in a research study" which is on the Research Board. I don't believe this treatment is available to the general public at this time, but the results look promising.

I have just started my son on sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). You can read more on this on the topic called "Treatment for food allergies" posted by vlcarnes on the Main Discussion Board (most recent post in early March). This treatment is available to the public, however, not many doctors in the US are using this method. It is more commonly used in Europe. A study on the effectiveness and dosages is being started at Duke.

Since the above mentioned therapies may not be easily available to everyone, avoidance may be the only option. I know that carefulmom posted a year or two ago about a study showing that kids who had strict avoidance of peanuts had a 50% chance of outgrowing the allergy, while the general peanut allergic population had only a 20% chance of outgrowing it. I don't know where that study was published and never saw a copy of it.

Jason - my son is allergic to soy. This has been confirmed via SPT, CAPRAST, and real world reactions. However, he only seems to react to larger amounts of soy and can tolerate lower levels. Our allergist said he could continue to keep small amounts of soy in his diet (it is really a hastle if total elimination is required). A couple of times he has had too much and his throat will hurt. However, most of the time he tolerates it very well. If he is reacting to these small exposures, I am sure not seeing it (no excema, congestions, constipation, etc.). The one thing I have learned with these allergies is that "one size does not fit all".

On Mar 14, 2006

My DS allergist told us if we took all egg out of his diet he should grow out of the egg allergy, but he told us that PA was a life long allergy. Does it all just depend on whatever your allergist happens to believe?

On Mar 14, 2006

Statistically, outgrowing egg is likely, but peanut is inlikely. However, some do outgrow peanut, and others don't outgrow egg. But you can expect a child to outgrow egg, and shouldn't count on outgrowing peanut.

On Mar 14, 2006

jillsmom- I'm in the same shoe as you are. I've always wondered about strict avoidance. My dd also has severe allergy to milk. She will develop hives from milk touching her skin. However she had McNuggets many times for 2 years w/o any rxn (this is before we found out there were whey in them). She used to go to daycare until she's 3. At daycare, she would get so many contact rxn. Now she's 4.5 yo. We practiced strict avoidance, but her milk allergy is still as severe. You should definitely check out the thread on the Duke study. It's amazing how Melissa's son can actually take an equivalent dose of one peanut/day. I'm really interested in that study to see how it comes out. Also under the AAAAI meeting page, there is an abstract about a pilot study on SLIT and milk allergy. There were only 3 subjects, but it helped them tolerate milk much better after 6 months.

On Mar 14, 2006

My daughter's old allergist told us to try foods with her allergens that were processed. That she may be able to tolerate the foods if they were processed. We tried Fig Newtons which have whey, no reaction (typically reacts with eczema) but she does show contact reactions to butter. The new allergist recommened NO processed allergens until she is at least 3 to help her outgrow the allergies.