Children most apt to outgrow egg allergy

Nov. 14, 2012 at 8:10 PM
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CHICAGO, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Avoiding sweets such as pumpkin bread and cookies this holiday season might not be necessary for children with egg allergies, U.S. researchers say.

"More than half of egg allergic children can tolerate hen's eggs when they are baked at 350 degrees in products such as cakes and breads," Dr. Rushani Saltzman, an allergist at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the lead study author, said in a statement. "Dietary introduction of baked egg by an allergist can broaden a child's diet, improve quality of life and likely accelerate the development of an egg tolerance."

Saltzman said the median dose tolerated was two-fifths of a hen's egg baked at 350 degrees for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Dr. Ruchi Gupta of Children's Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the lead author of a separate study, found that of the eight common food allergens, children most commonly outgrew egg allergy.

"Food tolerance was observed in 1-in-4 children, with 55 percent outgrowing their egg allergy by age 7," Gupta said. "Developing an egg tolerance is the most common for children, followed by milk. A small proportion outgrew shellfish and tree nut allergies."

Dr. Richard Weber, an allergist who is president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said children who have shown a severe reaction to eggs are less likely to outgrow the allergy. Severe symptoms include rapid swelling of the skin and tissue, difficulty breathing and life-threatening anaphylaxis, Weber said.

"While these studies show many positive findings for children with egg allergy, parents must practice caution," Weber said. "Introducing an allergen back into a child's diet can have severe consequences, and only should be done under the care of a board-certified allergist."

Both studies were presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual scientific meeting.

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