Overview of an Egg Allergy
An egg allergy is very common in children, and most outgrow the allergy by the age of 16. Symptoms can be mild to fatal and usually occur within minute of ingesting the egg protein. Egg proteins can be found in a variety of foods and even cosmetics and vaccinations.
- The most common allergy-causing food in children is eggs and is typically outgrown.
- Side effects occur within minutes or hours of ingesting eggs or foods that contain eggs.
- Symptoms include: skin rash, hives, nasal congestion, and vomiting or other digestive problems. Anaphylaxis rarely occurs when consuming eggs.
- Factors such as atopic dermatitis, family history and age play a role in determining if you will have an egg allergy.
- There are many hidden sources of egg in food, so be sure to double check food labels and even vaccinations.
Symptoms of an Egg Allergy
Each person may experience a different symptom. Reaction to ingesting eggs can typically appear within minutes. Hives are often the first sign of an allergic reaction to eggs, and look like red swollen patches on the face or other parts of the body. Other mild symptoms may include nasal congestion, coughing or tightness in the chest, cramps, nausea or vomiting.
In some cases, anaphylaxis may occur and can include difficulty breathing, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis must be treated immediately with a dose of epinephrine.
Causes of an Egg Allergy
An egg allergy occurs when someone’s body mistakes the egg protein to be harmful. When the body detects a harmful substance, it will release histamine and other chemicals. Some of allergic reactions may be life-threatening. Most people that are allergic to eggs are allergic to the protein found in the egg yolks, but eggs should be avoided altogether as they are difficult to separate.
Risk Factors of an Egg Allergy
Anyone can develop an egg allergy, but some people may be at a higher risk. Eggs are the most common allergy-causing good in children, and most children will outgrow this allergy by the age of 16 years old. Certain skin conditions may put you at a higher risk as well, including eczema. If a parent has a food allergy, then the child is more likely to develop food allergies too. A family history of allergies in general, specifically seasonal allergies can also raise your child’s risk of an egg allergy.
Complications of an Egg Allergy
A major complication for those with an egg allergy is anaphylaxis. Symptoms of this include: wheezing, shortness of breath, weak pulse, a drop in blood pressure, skin rash, nausea, or loss of consciousness. In the case of anaphylaxis, call 911 or go straight to the emergency room. Administering a dose of epinephrine may be imperative too. Follow the allergy action plan that you and your physician have created.
Prevention of an Egg Allergy
There are many hidden sources of egg in food, cosmetics, and even vaccinations. If a known egg allergy is present, be sure to check food labels and to speak with your physician before receiving any shots. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction to eggs is to avoid consuming them or coming in contact with them. Egg protein may be listed under other names such as: vitellin, globulin, lecithin, simplesse, lysozyme, or livetin. Other words may begin with “ova” or “ovo”, which is the prefix for egg in Latin. Many types of food and drinks may include egg unexpectedly, including: mayonnaise, salad dressing, meatloaf and meatballs, marshmallows, etc. If you are eating at a restaurant and are not clear about the egg contamination, let your server know and ask any questions that may be necessary.
Diagnosis of an Egg Allergy
To begin diagnosis, your physician will ask you a serious of questions to see history and family history. The physician may also require you to keep a food log. One of the following tests may be administered too. The skin prick test is when the skin is pricked and small amounts of the egg proteins are placed on the skin. If the bump becomes raised, then test is positive. A blood test can check the blood stream for certain antibodies that may cause a response to the eggs. The food challenge is when you will start by ingesting small amounts of egg and each bite will contain a little more and the physician will wait to watch for a reaction. If no reaction occurs in these tests, then it is presumed that no allergy is present. All tests should be done in an allergist’s office in case of emergency.
Treatment of an Egg Allergy
If there has been a diagnosis of an egg allergy, it is important to know how to treat an allergic reaction and how to identify egg that may be hidden in products. For mild reactions, you can use an antihistamine to treat symptoms of the allergy. For more severe reactions, a dose of epinephrine may need to be administered. This medication will help to increase blood pressure, improve breathing, stimulate heart and reduce overall swelling. After the dose is administered, proceed to the emergency room. Without treatment, this can be fatal. Create an allergy action plan with your physician so that you know what to do in case of emergency.
Summary of an Egg Allergy
An egg allergy is the number one cause of food-induced allergic reactions for children. This allergy is most common in children and the allergy is usually outgrown by the age of 16. Symptoms can range from mild to fatal. The physician may ask for you to keep a food diary and a close eye on reactions. Diagnosis can be done through a skin test, a blood test or a food challenge test. All tests should be done in your allergist’s office. Treatment is best done through avoidance of the egg proteins. Egg proteins can be hidden in a variety of products from other foods, drinks, cosmetics and vaccinations. Be sure to check on the labels before ingesting. Foods such as mayonnaise, marshmallows, and even meatloaf may contain egg proteins. Before receiving any vaccinations, speak with your physician about your allergy to guarantee there are no egg proteins found in the vaccine.