Peanut Allergy Can Return
Many children who develop an allergy to peanuts at a very young age can outgrow the allergy before school age, but a surprising study has found that peanut allergies can resurface at a later age.
Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City have reported three children in whom peanut allergies disappeared and then returned later. All three were boys who first developed peanut allergies between a year and 18 months of age. Their peanut allergies disappeared, but then returned when the boys were between six and 10 years of age.
"No one had ever reported that anyone who outgrew an allergy grew back into it again," Dr. Scott Sicherer, a pediatrician at Mount Sinai's Jaffe Food Allergy Institute told reporters. "The remarkable thing was they not only had symptoms but they developed increased sensitization."
Sicherer said these findings, which were published in The New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrate that allergists who find that peanut allergies have subsided in their patients should not necessarily recommend that they can resume normal consumption of foods containing peanuts.
The researchers did not determine whether or not this same "rebound" effect might be true of other foods which cause allergic reactions, which children also can outgrow.
"What it reminds us is that when we're talking about peanut allergy we have to start from scratch and assume nothing," Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder and chief executive officer of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, told reporters.
"We always have to be ready that it might come back."
In the United States, food allergies account for between 150 and 200 deaths a year and an estimated 30,000 emergency room visits. Approximately one in 150 Americans are allergic to peanuts. Allergic reactions to peanuts can range from mild to life-threatening.