For people allergic to eggs, even small quantities can produce serious reactions. But researchers have found a little more than half of allergic children can tolerate eggs that have been baked and roughly 55 percent of kids outgrow egg allergies.
The upshot: Baked goods made with eggs may be perfectly fine for a large number of people who are allergic to them, according to the research, presented presented at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) this week.
"More than half of egg allergic children can tolerate hen's eggs when they are baked at 350 degrees in products such as cakes and breads," said allergist Dr. Rushani Saltzman, an ACAAI member who led the new study. "Dietary introduction of baked egg by an allergist can broaden a child's diet, improve quality of life and likely accelerate the development of an egg tolerance."
In a separate study also presented at the meeting, Dr. Ruchi Gupta found that out of the eight common food allergens, children most commonly outgrew egg allergy.
"Food tolerance was observed in one in four children, with 55 percent outgrowing their egg allergy by age seven," Gupta said. "Developing an egg tolerance is the most common for children, followed by milk. A small proportion outgrew shellfish and tree nut allergies."
Children who have had a severe reaction to eggs in the past are less likely to outgrow an allergy, according to researchers. Severe symptoms include rapid swelling of the skin and tissue, difficulty breathing and life-threatening anaphylaxis.
"While these studies show many positive findings for children with egg allergy, parents must practice caution," noted allergist Dr. Richard Weber, ACAAI president-elect. "Introducing an allergen back into a child's diet can have severe consequences, and only should be done under the care of a board-certified allergist."