Saturday, December 3, 2011

Growing out of an egg allergy - Yes!

My son has already received his gift for Christmas.  He can now eat baked egg!  This may sound like a little thing to you, but to him, it's HUGE!  No more special treats at school when someone brings in cupcakes or cookies.  No more saying "no thank you" to birthday cake at parties.  Now, he can say, "Yes!"

When I tell people about this change, I often get asked how I know he has outgrown the allergy.  How can I be sure?  To explain, lets start with the severity of his original allergy.  He was diagnosed with an egg allergy due to welts and hives that appeared on his face when he was a toddler.  We took egg out of his diet and everything cleared up.  Problem solved.  We have not worried much about anaphylactic shock with his egg allergy since his reaction to blood and scratch testing was mild and there was never an instance of difficulty breathing for him with egg.  The prognosis was that he would be a good candidate to grow out of this allergy (80% of children outgrow egg allergies).  So, the goal has always been to do a food test when he got older.

His last skin prick and blood test showed a decrease in his egg reaction.  There still was a reaction, but it was slight.  Knowing this, I had a cake made with 2 eggs for a family birthday party and let him have a piece.  There was no reaction.  Several months later, I let him have a cookie with eggs baked into it.  No reaction.  Recently, we decided to test him, at home, on a regular basis.  We decided to give him one item with baked egg once a week, on the weekend, during the day.  The weekend was necessary so that if he had a reaction, he had the rest of the weekend to recover.  During the day was necessary because we did not want him to have a reaction near bedtime.  For three weeks, each Saturday, our son had one baked egg item with no reaction! 

Our home is primarily egg free already since my daughter also has an egg allergy.  So, my son was not going to get items with egg in them very often.  It was easy to keep his egg testing to once a week.  What this has really done for him is to open up his options at school and outside our home. 

We did call our allergist regarding our testing.  They told us that we did not need to come in for blood testing to confirm our findings.  In fact, research has shown that scratch and blood testing are not very accurate.  It only gives you a percentage chance of a reaction.  However, they did warn that egg baked into an item is very different that egg on it's own.  The protein in egg is altered when baked into an item which changes the allergen and can affect a person's reaction.  We were warned not to give him direct egg, such as scrambled eggs, without a formal egg challenge in a doctor's office.

If you think that your child may have outgrown his egg allergy, check with your allergist about testing him with baked goods.  Depending out your child's past reactions, they may encourage you to do this at home.  Otherwise, your doctor may opt for a more formal in office food challenge.  Always check with your doctor before testing a food allergy on your own and always make sure to have your emergency medication available.

Growing out of his egg allergy can just in time for Christmas cookies season!

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