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Can a Child Outgrow Food Allergies?

Having a child with food allergies can mean increased tension and anxiety levels for parents. Can a child outgrow food allergies? The answer is yes, some kids can and do end up outgrowing food allergies.

The good news is that a food challenge test is a safe, accurate way to confirm whether your child has outgrown a food allergy. And that testing is available at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

For more information on identifying and managing food allergies in kids, call the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at 412-692-7885.

Confirming Food Allergies in Kids

A food challenge test can determine if your child is allergic to a particular food. Typically, the food challenge test takes about three to four hours. After a few screening questions, your child is given a food suspected of triggering reactions and closely monitored in case an allergic reaction occurs. Your doctor or allergy team may suggest the food challenge test if:

  • Your child has a history of reactions
  • Prior skin tests have shown sensitivity to one or more foods
  • The child’s history doesn’t align with previous allergy tests
  • Parents and allergists suspect the child has outgrown a particular food allergy

The Food Challenge Test: What to Expect

Although some children can outgrow food allergies, others experience lifelong food sensitivities. Doctors agree the food challenge test is the best way to learn whether your child is outgrowing food allergies. Here’s what you should know about the exam.

Two weeks before the test, your child is not allowed to eat any foods that may be suspected allergy triggers. Ask your child’s pediatrician for permission to stop all antihistamines — both over-the-counter and prescription — for four days leading up to the food challenge.

Before starting the food challenge, doctors will do a physical exam. If your child is sick or has wheezing or uncontrolled asthma, the test may not proceed.

The best way to prepare? Just relax. Bring your child’s favorite toy, a travel game, books, or a kid-friendly tablet. Your youngster will take emotional cues from you, so the more relaxed you are, the better they will feel.

The assessment is usually uneventful. After consuming the initial small portion, your child is monitored for any type of response. If no reaction presents within 15 minutes, a slightly larger portion is given. Each step is about 15 minutes apart until completion.

For each increasing dose, medical personnel stand by prepared to quickly treat any allergic reaction. If there is no allergic reaction for about an hour after your child has eaten the final portion that particular food can be ruled out.

After your child is released, there’s a rare chance of a delayed reaction. Doctors recommend not feeding your child that food at least until the following day. Parents should simply keep watch and call your doctor right away if you notice anything at all.

For more information on identifying and managing food allergies in kids, call the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at 412-692-7885.