It may take kids longer to outgrow their milk allergies than doctors had previously believed. In a study of 244 children aged 3 to 15 months who were allergic to milk, researchers found that 37% had shed their allergy by the end of the study's 30-month follow-up.
"We used to say 85% or 90% would outgrow [milk allergies] by the time they are 3 or 4 years old," Dr. Scott Sicherer, a pediatrics professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, who led the new research, told HealthDay.
But studies over the last few years have suggested that many cases of allergy persist into later childhood, possibly even into the child's second decade. About 2.5% of children younger than 3 are allergic to milk, according to data from the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, and the allergy typically appears during the child's first year.
Even if it takes kids longer, though, more than 85% will eventually outgrow the allergy. Sicherer's study, whose preliminary results were presented at the AAAAI conference, suggests that kids who have milder allergic skin reactions to milk and lower blood levels of IgE antibodies (which trigger reactions to milk proteins) may outgrow their allergies faster.
"I think it's important not to provide overly optimistic numbers to parents that their child is going to outgrow their milk allergy absolutely by grade school," Dr. Jeffrey M. Factor, an allergist and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, told HealthDay.
As rates of asthma and food allergies continue to rise, researchers are seeking to better understand, diagnose and treat the sometimes life-threatening conditions. Earlier this week, doctors, researchers and academics in the field gathered at the annual American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) conference in San Francisco to present some of the latest research. Here are some of the most interesting data they shared.