Causes Of Egg Allergy
For all allergies, the immune system reacts to specific triggers, also known as allergens. The immune system produces antibodies that detect the allergen and cause inflammatory reactions and the release of chemicals including histamine. Histamine causes hives, hay fever and other allergic symptoms.The protein that triggers your allergic reaction can either be in egg whites or egg yolks, but allergies to egg whites are more common. The specific allergen in eggs that triggers your allergy may be present in both chicken eggs and duck eggs. Some people can therefore be allergic to both chicken and duck eggs. This is known as cross-reactivity.
Speak to your doctor about cross-reactivity because it is difficult to predict.
When To See A Doctor
People should speak to a doctor if they suspect they have an egg intolerance.
Their doctor may recommend tests or an elimination diet to find out if eggs or other foods are causing digestive problems.
Digestive problems such as bloating, stomach cramps, or diarrhea can be a sign of other health problems. Talking to a doctor to rule out other health conditions may be helpful if these problems are ongoing.
A person should always seek emergency care for any allergic reactions, such as swelling, trouble breathing, itching, and hives, as these symptoms can quickly become severe.
Molecular Diversity Of Itch Transmitting Primary Afferents
Using single-cell mRNA sequencing, sensory-modality specific primary afferent have been molecularly defined into clusters based on gene expression patterns. Here, 11 sub clusters were detected NF1-3, transmitting innocuous nociceptive information NF4-5, which transmit proprioceptive information NP1-3, transmitting itch information PEP1-2, nociceptive information and TH, which is involved in pleasant touch, The pruriceptive NP1-3 were shown to express genes related to histaminergic and non-histaminergic signaling, where NF1 expresses genes responding to lysophosphatidic acid , NP2 chloroquine-responsive genes , whereas NP3 expresses neuropeptides Nppb and Sst as well as genes involved in inflammatory itch . The histamine receptor gene Hrh1 was found in NP2 and NP3, suggesting that histaminergic itch is transmitted by both these pruriceptive sub clusters.
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Egg In Unexpected Places
- Shiny coats/glazes on pastries/candies. These may be egg washes. Candy dots, lollipops, and soft pretzel glazes are possible examples of this.
- Many egg substitutes may contain egg.
- Many pastas sold in stores contains egg, both dried and fresh.
- Foams on coffee drinks may contain egg.
- Egg white and egg yolk cannot be separated without cross-contamination.
Vaccines And Egg Allergy
The following information is based on what we believe to be sound research. Nevertheless, all cases are different and we advise you to discuss your allergy with your doctor before the following vaccinations are given.
The MMR: The MMR vaccine is normally cultured on cells from chick embryos. However, the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology has noted that the vaccine is generally free of egg protein, the part of the egg that triggers allergic reactions .
The British National Formulary the medical and pharmaceutical reference book that contains information and advice on medicines says there is increasing evidence that MMR vaccine can be given safely even when the child has had an anaphylactic reaction to food containing egg .
A 2010 medical paper written by UK experts said: All children with egg allergy should receive their normal childhood immunizations, including the MMR vaccination, as a routine procedure performed by their family doctor/nurseStudies on large numbers of egg-allergic children show there is no increased risk of severe allergic reactions to the vaccines. Children who have had documented anaphylaxis to the vaccine itself should be assessed by an allergist. .
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Egg Allergy And The Diet
Some people with an egg allergy can eat egg that has been well cooked and will only develop allergic symptoms if they eat loosely cooked egg or raw egg . This is because the structure of the egg protein is changed by heat from cooking which makes it less likely to cause allergic symptoms. Around 80% of people with an egg allergy can tolerate a well baked egg in a cake.
Therefore not all people with an egg allergy need to avoid all forms of egg and this should be decided on an individual basis. It will depend on the severity of previous allergic reactions and the results of allergy testing. Your GP or allergy specialist should provide information on whether all forms of egg need to be avoided. In those who are allergic to well-cooked egg, the reactions may be severe and strict avoidance of all egg and egg containing foods is necessary.
Where children have had mild to moderate reactions to egg they may be asked to re-introduce egg into the diet at home. Children who have had a severe reaction to egg in the past should not be given egg at home in any form until advised by a health professional and then this is usually only done in hospital under supervision as a well baked egg challenge test where staff are trained to recognise and treat symptoms of allergic reaction should it occur.
What Are The Risks Of Egg Intolerance
Having an egg intolerance doesnt mean youll develop an allergy to eggs.
Aside from the symptoms endured after eating eggs, theres also a risk of missing key nutrients that eggs provide. These include:
If you arent able to have eggs a couple of times a week, talk to your doctor about whether youre low in these key nutrients. You may need to incorporate other foods or supplements to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
On the flip side, an egg allergy is much more dangerous. This is why its important to make sure that you have an egg intolerance and not an allergy, just in case you accidentally consume eggs and egg products.
You can tell the difference between the two by the symptoms. While an allergy can cause diarrhea and other symptoms of stomach upset too, an allergic reaction to eggs can also cause breathing difficulties and a drop in blood pressure.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Egg Allergies
If your child is allergic to egg, it may cause symptoms in multiple areas of the body, including:
- Skin: hives and may include mild to severe swelling
- Lungs: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- Eyes: itching, tearing or redness
- Throat: tightness, trouble breathing or inhaling
- Stomach: repeated vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and cramping or diarrhea
- Nose: congestion, copious clear discharge, sneezing or itching
- Neurologic: change in behavior or mood, dizziness
- Drop in Blood Pressure: This is the most dangerous symptom of a severe allergic reaction
If your child experiences any of these symptoms after eating eggs, call your pediatrician and arrange to have your child tested by a pediatric allergist.
If a child has any two systems involved from the above list, this means they may be experiencing anaphylaxis.
If your child has symptoms of anaphylaxis, .
Treatments For Egg Allergy
Once our clinicians confirm your child has an egg allergy, the first step in treatment is avoiding eggs and food products that contain eggs. While eliminating egg dishes from your childs diet may sound relatively straightforward, eggs are a hidden ingredient in many foods, including baked goods, salad dressing, ice cream and meatballs. Even egg substitutes may potentially contain egg protein. It is important to read labels carefully.
Your childs doctor can give you detailed information on how to read food labels to help you and your child identify and avoid egg protein.
No matter how careful you are, there may be times when your child accidentally eats eggs and has a reaction. When that happens, you can treat the symptoms with antihistamines or epinephrine.
If more than one body system is involved in the allergic reaction for example the skin and lungs it is recommended to use epinephrine. Epinephrine comes in a variety of forms, including auto-injectors such as Epi-Pen, Auvi-Q and other generic forms.
If your childs reaction is mild and only involves a few hives, an over-the-counter or prescription strength antihistamine may ease their symptoms. Your childs doctor can help you decide which option is best for your child in specific circumstances.
Children with allergies to eggs should carry epinephrine with them, or it should be readily available at places where they routinely spend time, such as school, daycare and home.
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Guidance On Egg Consumption
It was previously suggested that raw and loosely cooked forma of egg should be avoided due to the risk of salmonella food poisoning to vulnerable groups of salmonella. Changes in advice from the foods standard agency have resulted in the advice that eggs that are produced under the British Lion Code of practice can be safely eaten in raw or lightly cooked forms by . However if you are egg allergic you should only eat egg in the form you tolerate.
Egg Allergy: What Are The Symptoms
What is an egg allergy?
Egg allergy is one of the most common types of food allergies among children in the United States, according to Food Allergy Research & Education . If your child has an egg allergy, their immune system mistakenly identifies proteins found in egg as harmful. When your child eats the egg protein, their immune system responds by releasing histamine and other chemicals. This triggers an allergic reaction, which can involve potentially life-threatening symptoms.
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Exercise As A Contributing Factor
There is a condition called food-dependent, exercise-induced anaphylaxis . Exercise can trigger hives and more severe symptoms of an allergic reaction. For some people with this condition, exercise alone is not sufficient, nor consumption of a food to which they are mildly allergic sufficient, but when the food in question is consumed within a few hours before high intensity exercise, the result can be anaphylaxis. Egg are specifically mentioned as a causative food. One theory is that exercise is stimulating the release of mediators such as histamine from IgE-activated mast cells. Two of the reviews postulate that exercise is not essential for the development of symptoms, but rather that it is one of several augmentation factors, citing evidence that the culprit food in combination with alcohol or aspirin will result in a respiratory anaphylactic reaction.
Symptoms Of An Egg Allergy Reaction
Egg allergy reactions encompass a wide range of gastrointestinal, skin, and respiratory symptoms. Common symptoms of a reaction include:
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy mouth or throat
A patient may have an egg intolerance or sensitivity, in which egg can be safely consumed with symptoms ranging from mild to uncomfortable. However, in a true egg allergy, consuming eggs or products that include egg proteins can cause severe, life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis. During anaphylaxis, the immune system releases a flood of chemicals to fight off harmful or invading proteins, inducing shock. Knowing how to recognize signs of anaphylaxis is crucial, as medical assistance must be sought immediately. Signs of anaphylaxis can include:
- Pale or bluish tint on the skin
- Throat constriction
- Confusion and/or dizziness
- Weak, rapid pulse
Those with diagnosed egg allergy are advised to carry two epinephrine auto-injectors at all times to protect against accidental contact or ingestion.
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What About Vaccines
If you have an allergy to eggs, talk to your doctor first before getting a vaccination.
Flu vaccines may also contain some egg protein. Experts have long advised people with allergies to eggs not to get the flu shot. A study published in December 2017 in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found the flu shot to be safe and recommended its use for people who are allergic to eggs. Someone who is allergic to eggs is not at an increased risk of experiencing an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine.
It is no longer necessary to:
- See an allergy specialist for the flu shot.
- Give special flu shots that don’t contain traces of egg.
- Require longer-than-normal observation periods after the shot.
Ask about egg allergy before giving the vaccine.
There is a version of the flu vaccine, called Flublok, thatâs made without using eggs. Itâs approved for adults ages 18 to 49.
What You Can Do
- Be aware of pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance. For example, if you’re going to have allergy testing, the doctor will want you to avoid taking antihistamines for a time before the test.
- Write down symptoms, including those that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of medications, vitamins and supplements that you or your child is taking.
- Write down questions to ask the doctor.
For egg allergy, some basic questions to ask the doctor include:
- What tests are needed? Do they require special preparation?
- Is this reaction most likely caused by egg allergy?
- What other conditions may be causing these symptoms?
- Will my child or I need to avoid eggs, or are certain egg products OK?
- Where can I find information on foods most likely to contain eggs?
- What should I tell my child’s school about his or her allergy?
- My child or I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Do I â or does my child â need to carry an autoinjector?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take? What websites do you recommend?
Don’t hesitate to ask other questions.
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Who Can Develop An Egg Allergy
Anyone can develop an egg allergy, but some people have a higher chance than others. Risk factors include:
- Age: Egg allergy most commonly affects children. According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology , as many as 2 percent of American kids have egg allergy. But most of them outgrow it by age 16.
- Skin conditions: If your child has certain skin conditions, especially eczema, theyre more likely to develop food allergies.
- Genetics: If one or both parents has a food allergy, a child is more likely to develop food allergies too. A family history of other allergic conditions, such as seasonal allergies, can also raises your childs risk.
What To Expect From The Doctor
The doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:
- When was your first reaction to eating eggs?
- Can you describe the reaction?
- Does this happen every time you or your child eats eggs or something made with eggs?
- How soon do symptoms start after consuming eggs or products containing eggs?
- How severe are the symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve symptoms, such as taking allergy medication or avoiding certain foods?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen symptoms?
- Is anyone in the family allergic to eggs or other foods?
- Do you or does your child have other allergic disorders, such as eczema, hay fever or asthma?
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The Spinal Itch Pathway
After the pruriceptive primary afferent has been activated, the signal is transmitted from the skin into the spinal dorsal horn. In this area, a number of interneurons will either be inhibited or activated to promote activation of projection neurons, mediating the puriceptive signal to the brain. The GRP-GRPR interneuron system has been found to be important for mediating both histaminergic and non-histaminergic itch, where the GRP neurons activate GRPR neurons to promote itch
Egg Allergy And Other Major Food Allergens
Amongst egg-allergic children, 60.2% had a comorbid allergy with one of the other top eight food allergens, with milk and peanut being the most common . Sesame and soy allergies were roughly twice as prevalent among egg-allergic children compared to children with the other top 8 food allergens. Among children with a parent-reported egg-allergic reaction occurring within the first year, prevalence rates of convincing peanut allergy were 21.5% , while only 9.8% of children with reactions to cows milk in the first year of life had convincing peanut allergy. However, children with reported soy or wheat-allergic reactionsthe other most common food allergies reported during the first year of lifehad a comparable prevalence of peanut allergy to those reporting early egg allergy wheat=26.1% .
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Vaccinations And Egg Allergy
Some shots to prevent illness contain egg proteins. In some people, these vaccines pose a risk of triggering an allergic reaction.
- Measles-mumps-rubella vaccines are generally safe for children with egg allergy, even though eggs are used to produce them.
- Flu vaccines sometimes contain small amounts of egg proteins. However, a flu vaccine that doesn’t contain these proteins is approved for use in adults age 18 and older. And even vaccines that do have egg proteins can be given safely to most people with egg allergy without any problems. If you or your child has had a reaction to eggs in the past, talk to your doctor before getting a flu vaccination.
- Yellow fever vaccine can provoke an allergic reaction in some people who have egg allergy. It’s given to travelers entering countries where there’s a risk of contracting yellow fever. It’s not generally recommended for people with egg allergy, but is sometimes given under medical supervision after testing for a reaction.
- Other vaccines are generally not risky for people who have egg allergy. But ask your doctor, just to be safe. If your doctor is concerned about a vaccine, he or she may test you or your child to see whether it is likely to cause a reaction.