Nearly 25 percent of children with a peanut allergy will outgrow it. However, there is a small risk the allergy will return. Peanut allergies affect about 1 to two 2 of young children and are the most common cause of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Testing IgE Levels
Predicting who will and will not outgrow a peanut allergy is difficult. Some research suggests that children with lower levels of peanut allergy-specific antibodies (IgE) may be likely candidates for outgrowing the allergy, more likely than children with higher levels of IGE. A blood test can tell you what your or your child’s IgE level is. An allergist should run this type of test.
Preventing Allergies from Returning
Even years after a child appears to have left his or her peanut allergy behind, there is a risk it will return. A 2004 study suggested that the way to reduce the risk of recurrence is to encourage a child to eat peanuts on a regular basis once the allergy has subsided. This may seem odd and risky advice to parents who have for years avoided peanuts and trained their children to do the same. Nevertheless, the study found that peanut allergy was much less likely to return when peanuts were consumed at least once a month after developing a tolerance for them.
Children with a medically verified peanut allergy should be re-evaluated by a board-certified allergist before changing their avoidance lifestyle. Introducing peanuts before tests are run is dangerous. A person with a significant peanut allergy should carry injectable ephinephrine at all times since the allergy could return without warning.