Can My Child Outgrow a Peanut Allergy?

The short answer from a pediatric allergist

Can my child outgrow a peanut allergy?

Q: Can my child’s peanut allergy go away? Are certain children more likely than others to outgrow a peanut allergy?

A: It’s disappointing to hear that most kids with a peanut allergy will not outgrow it. The numbers most often quoted are that only 20 percent of kids will outgrow their peanut allergy.

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There are only a few predictors of who may outgrow it, and they are not reliable. Having low positive numbers on blood tests, or the size of the skin test reaction is one thing. The severity of the reaction at presentation may also be related. However, if someone has low numbers or was not diagnosed by a specialist taking a precise history of any reactions, then the diagnosis of peanut allergy may not be correct.

It is important to know if kids are truly allergic, because if they aren’t allergic and avoid the food unnecessarily, then they may become allergic due to the avoidance. And our allergy tests have a lot of false positives — a positive test does not necessarily mean they are allergic. Because of this and the fact that kids may not outgrow the allergy, it is important to make a good diagnosis in the beginning.

— Pediatric allergist Brian Schroer, MD

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