Whether you suffer from environmental or food allergies, they can be a real pain. From constant sneezing and sniffling, itchy eyes, and headaches to extreme ingredient avoidance, dealing with allergies disrupts your life and keeps you constantly on guard.
It’s natural to wonder whether you or your child will ever outgrow these potentially life-threatening reactions.
Dr. James Lee and our Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care team diagnose and treat allergies of all kinds and are here to discuss whether it's possible to outgrow allergies or you’re stuck treating them into oblivion.
Is it possible to outgrow an allergy?
All allergies can be problematic, but food allergies can be particularly difficult to manage.
- 7.6% of kids in the United States have allergies
- Cow’s milk is the top food allergy, followed closely by egg allergies
- Eggs contain 5 proteins that can cause potential reactions
- Kids with asthma and an egg allergy are at high risk for anaphylactic shock
The good news is that you can outgrow an allergy, and so can your child. Sometimes, this occurs naturally, but many factors influence who will and won’t outgrow their allergies and when.
The likelihood of naturally outgrowing an allergy varies based on its type and severity. For example, studies show some eye-opening statistics:
- Egg, soy, wheat, and cow milk allergies: 80% of kids outgrow them by their teens
- Peanut allergies: 20%-25% of kids kick them by late childhood
- Tree nut allergies: 14% of kids grow out of them
- Shellfish and seafood allergies: 4%-5% of kids outgrow them
Dr. Lee can determine which foods or environmental elements cause allergic reactions in you and your child, and develop a treatment plan to help you manage or overcome them.
The science behind outgrowing an allergy
An allergy occurs when your body's immune system reacts to a harmless substance.
Consider a pollen allergy as an example. When you have a pollen allergy and step outside on a beautiful spring day, your immune system goes into overdrive and produces immunoglobulin E antibodies, resulting in allergic reactions.
Consistent exposure to small doses of the allergen, such as pollen in this case, helps your body gradually develop a tolerance to it. This process is similar to how certain vaccines function; they introduce a small amount of a pathogen to assist your body in coping with it.
Immunotherapy as a means to outgrow allergies
It’s tough to deal with allergies as an adult, but even tougher to watch your kid suffer. If you’re like many parents, you’re wondering whether there’s anything you can do to help your child overcome or outgrow allergies.
Immunotherapy may offer a solution. By introducing small amounts of the allergen and gradually increasing the dosage over several years, immunotherapy enhances the body's tolerance to the allergen. Eventually, your child may experience minimal allergic reactions, or none at all.
Allergen immunotherapy isn’t a quick cure but rather a long-term treatment that alleviates symptoms for many people, regardless of age, with conditions such as stinging insect allergy, allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, or conjunctivitis.
To get relief from allergies and learn more about how our treatments can help you or your child outgrow them, contact Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care in Woodstock, Georgia, to schedule an appointment.