At the end of the 30-month follow-up, 36.9 percent had outgrown the allergy. The researchers determined the allergy had resolved when the child could successfully drink milk without a reaction.
Certain factors predicted which children would outgrow it, Sicherer said. Children with a lower concentration of the IgE antibodies in the blood test were more likely to outgrow the allergy, he said, as were those who had less severe dermatitis and those who had a mild reaction to the skin test.
Although the percent of youngsters who outgrew the allergy to milk fairly quickly is lower than previously thought, Sicherer said, there is always hope.
"You can outgrow an allergy at any age," he said. "More than 85 percent of kids eventually outgrow" a milk allergy.
The study was funded by the Consortium of Food Allergy Research, established through a U.S. National Institutes of Health grant.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Factor, an allergist in West Hartford, Conn., who is on staff at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford and is an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, said that the study findings are no surprise as they reflect clinical practice.
"Some other recent studies over the past four or five years or thereabouts have suggested that children are not outgrowing milk allergy as early as has been previously believed," Factor said. He reviewed the study findings but was not involved in the research.
"Most do eventually outgrow milk allergy, but it seems that many of them are outgrowing milk allergy in later childhood, even into the second decade of life," said Factor, who has been in practice for about 20 years.
Exactly why is not known. "Food allergies are becoming more prevalent in general for reasons not clear, and they are becoming more severe," he said.
The new study findings may serve as a message to parents not to expect their child to ou
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