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Egg in tiny doses curbs allergy

Consuming small amounts over months stops reactions in some kids

Exposure to increasing amounts of egg every day over two years can seemingly rid some children of an egg allergy, a new study finds. This gradual introduction into the diet appears to re-train the immune system, allowing some sensitive children to handle egg proteins even after treatment ends, researchers report in the July 19 New England Journal of Medicine.

Many other children in the study developed an ability to cope with small amounts of egg without a serious reaction — but only while being treated. That finding could nonetheless have benefits.

“If you’re a parent who has a child who’s allergic, there is much more interest in providing protection from an accidental reaction” than in having the child gain a new food group, says study coauthor Wesley Burks, a pediatric immunologist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. “If you can give them something to protect them, that’s what a parent wants.”

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