Cake back on the menu for some children with egg allergy

Monday, 12 November, 2012

Telling a five-year-old they can’t have any cake is not an easy task, but it’s one that parents are increasingly having to do as cases of egg allergy increase. But some parents could soon be off the hook, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

New studies presented at the ACAAI Annual Meeting showed that 56% of allergic children can tolerate baked hen’s egg, while 55% outgrow their egg allergy entirely.

“More than half of egg-allergic children can tolerate hens’ eggs when they are baked at 350 degrees [Fahrenheit] in products such as cakes and breads,” said allergist Dr Rushani Saltzman, lead study author and ACAAI member. “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.”

The median dose tolerated was two-fifths of a baked hen’s egg. The products were all baked at 350°F (around 176°C) for a minimum of 30 minutes. A separate study also found that, of the eight most common food allergies, children most commonly outgrew an egg allergy.

“Food tolerance was observed in one in four children, with 55% outgrowing their egg allergy by age seven,” said Dr Ruchi Gupta, lead study author. “Developing an egg tolerance is the most common for children, followed by milk. A small proportion outgrew shellfish and tree nut allergies.”

Unfortunately, those with severe reactions to eggs are less likely to outgrow the allergy, researchers say.

“While these studies show many positive findings for children with egg allergy, parents must practise caution,” said allergist Dr Richard Weber. “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.”

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