In this episode, Su Robotti and Jonathan Block talk about the fact that children often outgrow allergies. Parents should have their children tested as often as every year. And maybe paying for that emergency EpiPen is unnecessary.
Su Robotti: Hello and welcome to MedShadow TV. I’m Suzanne Robotti and I’m the founder of MedShadow. This is Jonathan Block our content manager. And today, we’re going to talk to about children’s allergies.
I have a kid who, very early in life — he was about 4 — was told by his pediatrician that he’s allergic to shellfish and to avoid it, to never eat shellfish. And, my kid took this very seriously except that he loved shellfish. We would have lobster and he would try nibbling on a piece of it, and we’d watched him carefully, and he seemed fine.
So over the course of a couple of years, he started eating lobster and then he decided that he was only allergic to shrimp and crab. We told him he wasn’t allergic shellfish but he wouldn’t believe us. So, then he started nibbling on crab and that worked out well. Then he decided he’s only allergic to shrimp and, as you can imagine, ultimately, he is not allergic to shellfish at all. So foolishly, it was our fault. We never had him truly tested for shellfish allergy, and he was denied for many, many years of foods that he loved and are very good for him.
So Jonathan, what do you have to say about that, what’s your advice?
Jonathan Block: Well, we just had an article a few weeks ago in MedShadow by our freelancer Padma Nagappan, and she was telling the story about how her own 2 sons outgrew their allergies. In her article, which I encourage viewers to read on medshadow.org, she talks about how her 2 sons were diagnosed with peanut allergies when they were very young and, up until this year, they were required to have the EpiPen — which of course, has been the news lately — in case their kids would have any sort of allergic reaction.
And as we know, because it’s been in the news, that particular medication is quite expensive. So she decided to actually have her 2 sons tested to see if they were still allergic to peanuts, and guess what, neither of them are actually allergic. They outgrew their allergies.
SR: I didn’t know you could outgrow a food allergy. So you’re saying my kid might actually have been allergic to shellfish at one point but he just outgrew it.
JB: That’s correct. Padma interviewed a specialist who is an expert in food allergies and according to this expert, about 80% of children that initially had allergies to milk, soy, egg and wheat outgrow them by the time they become teenagers, and another 20% will outgrow peanut allergies and about 15 to 20% will outgrow allergies they may have had to shellfish or fish.
SR: Wow! That’s great. But why test kids? I mean, if you can afford them, why not just keep avoiding foods if you think you’re allergic, you can live a long life.
JB: Well, while that may be true, the fact of the matter is a lot of these foods are nutritious. Obviously, milk has a lot of excellent vitamins and minerals. And then the other thing is that you’re spending money on EpiPen or some other kind of drug for your child’s allergy, but the thing is that your child may not even have that allergy anymore, so you’re wasting money on medication. And all medications have side effects as our viewers are aware, and so, you’re potentially leaving your child open to side effects from the drug that they’re taking for an allergy that they may not even have anymore.
SR: And you’re creating an aura of fear in the child’s life that is just unnecessary. So I guess to take away from this is have your children tested for this allergies that they used to have, you believe they didn’t have. How often do you test?
JB: You can actually do it as often as every year. As children get older, their allergies can change. Whether they have it or not can actually change year over year, so you can actually do it as often as every year.
SR: Great. Okay, thank you, any other information we should have on this article?
JB: Well, I just encourage our readers — sorry our viewers — especially those who may have children with allergies, to read the excellent feature article by Padma Nagappan.
SR: Thank you Jonathan and thank you for watching MedShadow TV.