Peanut and tree nut allergies can cause severe reactions, even anaphylaxis. Parents would give anything to have their children outgrow the allergy, but how realistic is this wish? It is a possibility for some children, but not for most, according to a report put out by the Division of Allergy and Immunology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
9% of children allergic to tree nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts) passed an oral food challenge, meaning that they were able to eat the food without a reaction. This included children who had severe reactions in the past. 58% of children with low levels of IgE antibody to tree nuts (5 kilounits per liter or less) also passed the oral challenge. 20% of children allergic to peanuts will outgrow their allergy.
Another finding in the study was that children who are allergic to more than one type of tree nut are unlikely to outgrow their allergy.
The researchers from the study recommend that children with peanut or nut allergies should be regularly re-evaluated to see if they are still allergic, and they say that blood antibody levels (IgE) can be used as an accurate guideline in predicting the likelihood that a child has outgrown the allergy. If you would like to know if your child has outgrown a peanut or nut allergy, ask your allergist for repeat testing and discuss the possibility of an oral challenge under careful supervision.