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Can you really outgrow Seafood Allergies?

Food allergies are often considered allergies that may be outgrown. However, the likelihood of outgrowing a food allergy depends in large part to both the severity of the allergy and the specific food that causes the allergy. Allergies to milk, egg, wheat and soy, for instance, are the common food allergies that are often outgrown by the time children reach their late teens. Indeed, between 60 and 80 percent of children who are allergic to milk or eggs are able to ingest these foods without any adverse reactions by the age of 16.

Seafood allergies, though, are not on this list of food allergies that are commonly outgrown. A recent study supports the notion that seafood allergies are not often overcome. The research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, tracked children and adults with seafood allergies for up to six years. The patients included 63 people – 37 of whom were allergic to non-shellfish fish, 25 of whom were allergic to shellfish, and one of whom was allergic to both.

Among those allergic to non-shellfish fish, the most common allergen was salmon. Approximately 18 percent of those with non-shellfish fish allergies were allergic to salmon – or almost one in five people. The most common shellfish allergy was shrimp, to which about half of those with shellfish allergies were allergic.

The results showed that less than one percent of those with seafood allergies experienced resolution of their allergies during each year of follow up. According to the researchers, non-shellfish fish and shellfish allergies account for most life-threatening allergic reactions to food, which involve anaphylaxis. It is, therefore, important for patients to understand their allergies and what to expect in terms of how their allergic reactions may evolve.

Given that this study was conducted on a relatively small sample and over just a six-year period, it is possible that future research will find more promising results for outgrowing seafood allergies over a more extended period of time. In the meantime, other research will continue to focus on ways that seafood and other food allergies can be prevented, treated and overcome.

Author
Dr. Summit Shah

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