New treatment shows promise in treating egg allergies

July 18, 2012 3:08:38 PM PDT
Egg allergies are the second most common allergy in children after milk allergies, and that makes food choices extremely difficult.

Now, a new therapy is showing promise in treating egg allergies.

Numerous studies show about half of the children with egg allergies will outgrow them by 5 years of age. However, that means a significant number of them will still suffer, and possibly never outgrow them. This therapy is welcome news for parents and children who have to deal with these allergies.

For children, egg allergies can take the fun out of being a kid - they can't enjoy fun food like birthday or even ice cream.

Not only that, some foods that most people would not suspect contain eggs, like candy. This means that children must be extra cautions about what they eat.

Mild symptoms of egg allergies include rashes, itching, wheezing, trouble breathing and vomiting. However a more severe allergic reaction can be anaphylaxis, which can develop within minutes and be life-threatening.

Now, a new Immunotherapy treatment is helping to desensitize kids.

"Children who generally have no real therapy at the moment besides avoidance of the eggs, were able to tolerate larger doses of eggs while on the treatment," said Dr. Brian Schroer of the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, "Once the treatment was stopped, they were able to tolerate the eggs just as any other children, or child would be able to."

University of North Carolina researchers studied 55 children between the ages of 5 and 11. 40 of them took egg-white powder pills for 4 to 6 weeks as part of an immunotherapy program.

After 10 months, 55% of the children on the immunotherapy treatment were able to eat eggs. After 22 months, 75% of children in the oral-immunotherapy group were desensitized.

Researchers say this treatment can help lots of children with egg allergy.

"They were able to take kids who most likely would not have outgrown the egg allergy without any treatment and induce tolerance," said Dr. Schroer.

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