A Sheffield youngster is being advised to eat cake - for the sake of his health.
Experts say it will help Dylan Scott, of Nether Green, who has a severe egg allergy.
The nine-year-old suffered an extreme reaction after eating an egg custard when he was six months old.
His lips and neck became swollen and he had to be rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Since then Dylan has had to avoid egg and carries medication in case he accidentally eats it and has a reaction.
His dad, Jason, said: “We’ve found a way to manage the allergy by being very careful about reading labels and making home made egg-free cakes and biscuits.
“But it does make family life challenging at times, as if we go out to eat it’s only to places which are aware of allergies. And when Dylan goes to a birthday party he has to take his own food. So it would be fantastic if egg allergy was no longer an issue.”
Now there is hope that Dylan may be able overcome his allergy - by eating a thumbnail-sized piece of chocolate muffin once a week. The amount will increase if he continues to be fine.
Allergy consultant Dr Nicola Jay said: “Milk and egg allergies are the most common allergies affecting children, but by the age of five, as many as 80% will have grown out of them. For children who are older and still have an allergy, we offer baked egg challenges which aim to help them overcome these allergies.
“When eggs are baked in a cake the proteins within them change and don’t create the same reaction. Studies have shown that by being able to eat baked egg, then you reduce the time to full tolerance of all egg products. In time we’d hope that Dylan will be able move on to eating egg in all forms.”
Dylan recently had an ‘egg’ challenge day at the hospital.
First a crumb of chocolate muffin was rubbed on his inner arm, to see if it would react. Portions were gradually built up until he had consumed the whole muffin.
At the last stage, Dylan, who was fine for most of the challenge, felt unwell so was given his usual, antihistamine to manage his reaction, and closely checked before going home.
Doctors advise that he eats small amounts of cake so that his body gets use to eggs over time.
Jason said: “It was disappointing that Dylan felt unwell after having the cake. But compared to what’s happened before it was a mild reaction, and we’ll take the advice for him to eat small amounts of cake regularly so that hopefully in time Dylan won’t have any reaction at all, and will be able to eat all forms of egg.”