John Lehr, chief executive officer of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, said that while the study findings are encouraging, parents must nonetheless be careful when considering how to handle childhood allergies.
"We are encouraged by studies that show certain food allergies such as egg can be outgrown and that some children can tolerate egg in baked form," Lehr said. "But we want to caution that parents of children with food allergies must never attempt to reintroduce food allergens into their child's diet on their own -- this must be done under the supervision of an allergist."
Lona Sandon a registered dietitian and an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Dallas, agreed about the need for caution.
"In some cases, children do appear to outgrow allergies," she said. "But parents should be cautious about foods that have caused past reactions. In the case of egg allergies, there may be something different about the egg cooked into a baked product than eating a fried egg. Could it be the dose of the egg protein or maybe the change in the protein structure as a result of baking that makes it different and less allergenic? It is hard to say. And we do not know at what age allergies might subside."
"The bottom line is to be cautious in trying foods that contain ingredients that have been known to cause severe allergic reactions," Sandon said. "Reactions tend to get worse each time. It would be wise to meet with an allergist before trying to reintroduce foods that have been known to cause reactions."
Because the studies were presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
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