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This Test Can Tell Whether You’ve Outgrown a Food Allergy

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Packages of Justin's brand peanut butter cups. Daniel Acker — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Food allergies are interesting, in that what you’re allergic to when you’re a child might not be the same as what you’re allergic to as an adult, and vice versa. We can grow out of allergies and grow into them. Luckily, a test called a food challenge can help determine whether a person can handle a food he or she once reacted poorly to.

As SCPC reports, the food challenge should only be administered after you have a blood test, which measures immunoglobulin levels (the higher the level of this specific antibody, the more likely your are have an allergic reaction). If your antibody count is low, the next step essentially involves eating the food you think you’re allergic to, but in very small quantities and under medical supervision.

In a new study recently published in the “Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology,” researchers conducted roughly 6,300 food challenges with patients whom doctors suspected had outgrown their allergies. It turns out, a whopping 86% of them had indeed done so, and could now eat the foods they had long been avoiding.

Six percent of children in the United States report having a food allergy, a number that has been rising for decades. The vast majority, around 90%, of these allergies involve eight foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.

If you’ve tested positive for a food allergy before, you may want to consider getting retested now as it’s possible you’ve grown out of it over the years.