This site is intended for health professionals only

Milk and egg allergies "worse than 20 years ago"

Milk and egg allergies, previously considered "transitional" are increasingly persistent and hard to outgrow, research shows.

US experts followed more than 800 patients with milk allergies and 900 with egg allergies and found that most persisted well into school years and beyond.

Lead investigator Robert Wood said: "The bad news is that the prognosis for a child with a milk or egg allergy appears to be worse than it was 20 years ago.

"Not only do more kids have allergies, but fewer of them outgrow their allergies, and those who do, do so later than before."

The researchers believe their study reflects a trend toward more severe, persistent allergies.

Earlier research suggested that three quarters of children with milk allergies outgrew them by the age of 3 but this is now thought to be true for just a fifth of children.

Experts say food allergies tend to behave more unpredictably and aggressively than cases diagnosed in the past.

"We may be dealing with a different kind of disease process than we did 20 years ago," says Wood.

"Why this is happening we just don't know."

John Hopkins Chidren Centre

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"We found out a year and a half ago that my daughter has multiple food allergies: Soy, beef, cottonseed oil, carrots, wheat, shellfish, bananas and spices. She started college this Fall and the list of foods that we tested began to dwindle as they seemed to affect her and cause digestive distress. I thought it might be because of the stress of adjustment to new situations and surroundings. But maybe something else is going on. It's very frustrating" - Lyn, USA

"Our daughter is now 12. She was perfectly normal with all foods until 12 to 15 months ago and now suffers from severe food alergies including any milk, eggs, bread, processed food of almost any kind and all dairy products, plus now allergy to dust, dogs, cats, birds, etc, etc. Before the allergies she was an excellent swimmer and enjoyed all spoting activities. We are a total loss to explain why the allergies have suddenly arrived as we have 2 other children 1 boy at 14 and another girl at 15 with no allergies at all. Pets in the house are 1 small dog and two budgies and the house is kept spotless by the mother. We live in the suberb of Carina in Brisbane, Australia." - Name and address supplied