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Atopic (Allergy) March: Understanding the Progression

Allergy March

Allergic disease may undergo dynamic changes over time, and the term "Allergy March" is often used to describe this characteristic disease progression. Because allergies change over time, many people will outgrow allergies they’ve had and develop new ones. The allergy march, also called the allergic march or atopic march, is a specific way that allergy symptoms often progress in children.1

Allergic eczema is often the first step of the allergy march.2 And about 1 in every 3 children with eczema develops asthma later in childhood.3


Along the march

Children tend to outgrow their allergies as they go along the allergy march:

  • 80% of children outgrow milk, egg, soy, and wheat allergies4-7
  • 70% of children outgrow eczema8

If you can identify what your children are allergic to along the way, you can help minimize their symptoms. (And it can help improve quality of life, too: Children suffering from eczema, and their parents, can lose up to 2 hours of sleep per night.9 So, how do you know if their symptoms are caused by one or a combination of multiple allergic triggers? If you think your child has allergies, a simple blood test can help their healthcare professional identify their underlying allergic triggers.

Knowing what’s causing their symptoms can help you both get relief.

Children Allergy Graph

The march generally follows this path:


Types of allergies & their triggers

Anything from pollen to mold to animals to food can trigger an allergic reaction in someone who has allergies to these triggers. And while some people may outgrow their current allergies, new ones could also spring up at any time.10

Certain substances are frequently responsible for allergic reactions and some of the most common include:

  1. Spergel JM, Paller AS. Atopic dermatitis and the atopic march. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003;112 (6 Suppl):S118-27.
  2. Spergel JM. From atopic dermatitis to asthma: the atopic march. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2010;105:99-106.
  3. Van Der Hulst AE, Klip H, Brand PL. Risk of developing asthma in young children with atopic eczema: A sustematic review. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007;120 (3):565-9.
  4. Savage JH, Matsui E, Skripak J, et al. The natural history of egg allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007;120:1413-7. 
  5. Wood RA, Sicherer S, Vickery B, et al. The natural history of milk allergy in an observational cohort. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013;131:805-12. 
  6. Keet CA, Matsui E, Dhillon G, et al. The natural history of wheat allergy. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2009;102:410-5. 
  7. Savage J Kaeding A, Matsui E, et al. The natural history of the soy allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;125:683-6. 
  8. Wade W, Kapur S. Atopic dermatitis. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2011;7 (Suppl 1):S4.
  9. Reid P, Lewis-Jones MP. Sleep difficulties and their management in preschoolers with atopic eczema. Clin Exp Dermatol 1995;20:38-41.
  10. Kamdar T, Peterson S, Lau C, et al. Clinical Communications: Prevalence and characteristics of adult-onset food allergy. J Aller Cl Imm-Pract. 2015;3 (1):114.