Allergy

Updated 20 January 2014

Many children eventually outgrow milk allergy

By the time children with milk allergy are about five years old, most have outgrown the condition, according to findings of a large observational study.

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By the time children with milk allergy are about five years old, most have outgrown the condition, according to findings of a large observational study.

As Dr Robert A Wood said, "milk allergy is outgrown in over half of children by school age." He added that skin tests and IgE levels to milk "are the most useful predictors of outgrowing milk allergy."

Dr Wood of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues studied 293 children with milk allergy, aged 3-15 months at enrolment. Along with a convincing history of egg allergy, milk allergy, or both, the children had positive skin prick tests (SPT).

What they found

As reported, after a median of 66 months at last follow-up, 154 (52.6%) were no longer allergic to milk, as established by oral food challenge in 56 and successful introduction of uncooked milk products at home in the other 98.

At five years, 21% of the children with unresolved allergy reported tolerating at least some baked milk products.

Resolution was not associated with other food allergy at any time point and was slightly less likely in those who had asthma and rhinitis.

Highly significant predictors of resolution included baseline milk specific IgE level. For example, children with levels <2 kUA/L were more than five times more likely to show resolution than those with levels >10 kUA/L. Other highly significant predictors were milk SPT wheal size, and atopic dermatitis severity.

(Reuters Health, January 2013)

 

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Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

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