Food allergies affect an estimated 5% of children under the age of five and 4% of older kids in the U.S.
Egg is a common trigger and can, like other allergens, cause severe or life-threatening reactions. Avoiding eggs and egg products is currently the only approved treatment. Researchers wanted to find out if exposing children with egg allergy to small but escalating doses of the food would desensitize them.
In a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 55 children ages 5-11 were given either egg white powder or a placebo. Those who passed the initial phases of the food challenge were then given cooked eggs.
If they still had no response, they were placed on a diet that incorporated egg consumption and evaluated after six and 12 months.
About 28% of the kids made it to the final phase of the study and were able to eat eggs successfully. The researchers say this shows that oral immunotherapy can desensitize a high percentage of children with this allergy.
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