Of the many food allergies affecting Atlanta children, a peanut allergy is one of the most concerning. If not carefully monitored and treated correctly, peanut allergies can lead to severe allergic reactions. Thankfully, some people will outgrow their allergies or respond positively to treatment. But how likely is it that your or your child’s peanut allergy will go away?
Can a Peanut Allergy Be Outgrown?
Studies show that an estimated 20–25% of children experiencing a peanut allergy will outgrow it. Of those that outgrow their allergy, 80% do so by the age of eight. While this data offers relief to many parents, it still means a large proportion of individuals will need to manage their condition.
Additionally, it can be hard to determine exact figures as many parents and children carry a fear of peanuts for many years. After experiencing a severe allergic reaction, it is natural to continue avoiding peanuts even if you may no longer be allergic. However, with the help of a food allergy doctor, tests can safely determine whether the allergy has gone away.
How Do You Know if a Peanut Allergy Has Been Outgrown?
If you suspect a peanut allergy has been outgrown, make an appointment with your allergist. Typically, your allergist will conduct a skin prick test to see if there is a response to peanut proteins on the skin. A different approach is to use a blood test to analyze for high levels of antibodies related to peanut allergies.
Your allergist may also use an oral food challenge test. This involves consuming gradually increasing levels of peanut products to check for any reactions. If your child can consume a number of peanuts without a reaction, the allergy has been outgrown. These tests offer clarity
on the condition and allow individuals to manage their diets based on up-to-date medical advice.
What Treatments Are Available for a Peanut Allergy?
Outgrowing a peanut allergy may still require some caution and maintenance. Johns Hopkins Medicine advises children to eat concentrated forms of peanut products, such as peanut butter, at least once a month to retain tolerance levels. You may also need to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of emergencies.
For the many children who still experience reactions to peanuts, there are options beyond simply avoiding harmful foods. Oral immunotherapy treatment is a process of desensitization, with patients consuming small amounts of peanut protein over many months. The intake levels are periodically increased to allow the immune system to build tolerance. Over time, you should be able to eat peanuts and not suffer an allergic reaction.
Get Treatment for a Peanut Allergy
If you or your child suffer from a peanut allergy, there are effective treatments available. Dr. Chacko can provide diagnosis and treatment from locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth and Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.