New study shows majority of Aussie kids will outgrow food allergy

ALLERGY AWARENESS IS KEY: Lockyer Valley dietician Brady Schulz says children's body's immune-mediated tolerance can improve with age.
ALLERGY AWARENESS IS KEY: Lockyer Valley dietician Brady Schulz says children's body's immune-mediated tolerance can improve with age. Francis Witsenhuysen

AN INCREASE of Australian children who outgrow egg allergy by preschool is contributing to a drop in food allergies by age four, according to new research.

The Murdoch Children's Research Institute's HealthNuts study, which involved 5276 kids, found nearly two-thirds of children with a food allergy had outgrown their allergy by age four, however there continues to be remarkably high rates of any allergic disease, with almost half the children surveyed experiencing some form of allergy.

The study released this week showed the prevalence of food allergy decreased from 11% at age one to 3.8% at age four.

Resolution of egg allergy was the main driver of this change, dropping from 9.5% to 1.2%.

Food Allergy Week runs until this Saturday and is all about raising awareness, educating the community and helping to save lives.

According to Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia, the country has one of the highest reported incidences of food allergies in the world, with 90 per cent of reactions said to be caused by nine foods - cow's milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, sesame, soy, shellfish and fish. They further suggest that one in 10 babies born in Australia today will develop a food allergy.

Lockyer Valley dietitian and nutritionist Brady Schulz from Healthy Lifestyles Australia said the most common allergies among his clients were to eggs, nuts and dairy protein.

"A lot of the time it's idiopathic, so there's not a defined reason why people are allergic to certain things," Mr Schulz said.

"At times, if there's a strong allergy line in their family, it's more likely their children may develop or have an allergy.

"Egg allergy is not as common as a nut or peanut allergy but similar things can happen like anaphylaxis, where they are unable to breath, or they will come up in hives and welts all over their body.

"Some people might be experiencing allergies without knowing it's from food, until they see a dietician - who can diagnose them."

Mr Schulz said while people sometimes only realised they were allergic after eating a food, they could get special blood tests at a GP to test for certain allergies.

"Those tests can not only test for food but for environmental factors such as grasses, pollens, seeds or dust," he said.

For someone with an allergy, knowing how to administer an adrenaline auto-injector when they are suffering from anaphylaxis can help save their life.

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Topics:  dietitian lockyer valley

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