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Health Information For Parents
When someone has an egg allergy, the body’s immune system, which normally fights infections, overreacts to proteins in egg. If the person drinks or eats a product that contains egg, the body thinks these proteins are harmful invaders. The immune system responds by working very hard to fight off the invader. This causes an allergic reaction.
About 2% of children are allergic to eggs. Luckily, most will outgrow the allergy by age 16.
When someone with an egg allergy has something with egg in it, the body releases chemicals like
. This can cause symptoms such as:
Allergic reactions to egg can vary. Sometimes the same person can react differently at different times. Some reactions to egg are mild and involve only one part of the body, like hives on the skin. But, even when someone has had only a mild reaction in the past, the next reaction can be severe.
Egg allergies can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis might start with some of the same symptoms as a less severe reaction, but can quickly get worse. The person may have trouble breathing or pass out. More than one part of the body might be involved. If it isn’t treated, anaphylaxis can be life-threatening.
An egg allergy is diagnosed with skin tests or blood tests. A skin test (also called a scratch test) is the most common allergy test. Skin testing lets a doctor see in about 15 minutes if a child is sensitive to egg.
With this test, the doctor or nurse:
If the area swells up and get red (like a mosquito bite), the child is sensitive to eggs.
A blood test can be used if a skin test can’t be done. It takes a few days/weeks to get the results of blood tests, though, and these tests are not perfect. It’s important to have your child checked by a health care provider who has experience with allergy testing.
If your child has an egg allergy, always keep two epinephrine auto-injectors available in case of a severe reaction. An epinephrine auto-injector is a prescription medicine that comes in a small, easy-to-carry container. It’s easy to use. Your doctor will show you how. Kids who are old enough can be taught how to give themselves the injection.
The doctor can also give you an allergy action plan, which helps you prepare for, recognize, and treat an allergic reaction. Share it with anyone who takes care of your child, including relatives, school officials, and parents at play dates. Also consider having your child wear a medical alert bracelet.
Every second counts in an allergic reaction. If your child starts having serious allergic symptoms, like swelling of the mouth or throat or difficulty breathing, give the epinephrine auto-injector right away. Also give it right away if the symptoms involve two different parts of the body, like hives with vomiting. Then call 911 and take your child to the emergency room. Your child needs to be under medical supervision because even if the worst seems to have passed, a second wave of serious symptoms can happen.
If your child has an egg allergy, help him or her avoid eating egg. Read food labels carefully because ingredients can change, and egg can be found in unexpected places.
Some foods look OK from the ingredient list, but while being made they can come in contact with egg. This is called cross-contamination. Look for advisory statements such as “may contain egg,” “processed in a facility that also processes egg,” or “manufactured on equipment also used for egg.” Not all companies label for cross-contamination, so if in doubt, call or email the company to be sure.
Anyone preparing your child’s food should wash their hands with soap and water before touching it. Your child should always wash his or her hands before eating. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand-cleaning wipes. But don’t use hand sanitizer gels or sprays. Hand sanitizers only get rid of germs — they don’t get rid of egg proteins.
Keep foods that contain egg in a separate part of your kitchen so they don’t contaminate your child’s food. When preparing food, wash dishes and utensils with dishwashing soap and hot water to remove any traces of egg.
When eating away from home, make sure you have an epinephrine auto-injector with you and that it hasn’t expired. Also, tell the people preparing or serving your child’s food about the egg allergy. Sometimes, you may want to bring food with you that you know is safe. Don’t eat at the restaurant if the chef, manager, or owner seems uncomfortable with your request for a safe meal.
In the past, anyone with an egg allergy needed to talk to a doctor about whether getting the flu vaccine was safe because it is grown inside eggs. But health experts now say that kids with egg allergy aren’t at higher risk for a reaction to the flu vaccine. This is probably because the levels of egg allergen in the vaccine are so tiny that it’s safe even for those with a severe egg allergy. The flu vaccine is recommended for all kids older than 6 months of age during flu season.
If you’re worried, your child can get the flu shot in a doctor’s office, where the health care provider can watch for and treat any reaction.
Food allergies can cause serious and even deadly reactions in kids, so it’s important to know how to feed a child with food allergies and to prevent reactions.
Kids with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The good news is that when treated properly, anaphylaxis can be managed.
Find out what the experts have to say.
A scratch or skin prick test is a common way doctors find out more about a person’s allergies.
Find more than 30 articles in English and Spanish about all aspects of food allergies in children.
Living with an egg allergy means you have to be aware of what you’re eating and read food labels carefully. Here are some tips for teens who have an egg allergy.
Babies sometimes have an allergic reaction to eggs. If that happens, they can’t eat eggs for a while. But the good news is that most kids outgrow this allergy by age 5.
Shellfish allergies can be serious – and shellfish can appear in some surprising foods and products. Read about shellfish allergy and what to do when a reaction is severe.
Taking precautions and carrying meds are just part of normal life for someone who has a food allergy. Here are some tips on how to make travel also feel perfectly routine.
Quick action is essential during a serious allergic reaction. It helps to remind yourself of action steps so they become second nature if there’s an emergency. Here’s what to do.
A person with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This reaction can seem scary, but the good news is it can be treated.
Fish allergy can cause a serious reaction. Find out how to keep kids safe.
Soy is found in many foods and it’s a common food allegy. Find out how to help kids with an allergy stay safe.
Wheat allergy can cause serious reactions. Find out how to help kids with an allergy stay safe.
Doctors are diagnosing more and more people with food allergies. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with food allergies can make a big difference in preventing serious illness.
Struggling with strawberries? Petrified of peanuts? Sorry you ate shellfish? Maybe you have a food allergy. Find out more in this article for kids.
With preparation and education, a child with a food allergy can stay safe at school.
Shellfish allergy can cause serious reactions. Find out common symptoms of allergic reactions and how to respond.
If your child is allergic to nuts or peanuts, it’s essential to learn what foods might contain them and how to avoid them.
A growing number of kids are allergic to nuts and peanuts. Find out more about this problem and how allergic kids can stay healthy.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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