Egg Intolerance Symptoms Causes And Treatments
Egg intolerance is a relatively rare food sensitivity, but it is a difficult food allergy to live with because eggs are hidden ingredients in so many foodstuffs. Fortunately, there are now some great egg alternatives available, which we tell you about here. Avoiding these foods will help you to avoid egg intolerance symptoms.
This page is just an overview of the subject to help you to better understand the condition. Here we explain what causes this relatively rare condition, how to be tested for egg allergy, as well as give you some basic advice about living with egg intolerance.
We cover egg intolerance in adults as well as in babies and children. Egg allergy symptoms in adults are less pronounced than other food sensitivities, so they are relatively easy to miss.
Examples Of Egg Containing Foods
Baked / Well-cooked egg
- Biscuits, e.g. Jaffa cakes, sponge fingers, Sponge fingers
- Plain cakes
- Prepared meat dishes and sausages containing egg
- Most types of prawn crackers
This is only a guide. Do please check ingredients to ensure that you are:
- not excluding foods unnecessarily
- not eating foods that contain egg by mistake
- Having an egg allergy is likely to mean that you are very likely to be allergic to eggs from other birds like duck, goose, Quail so will also need to avoid these too. Egg allergy is different to being allergic to chicken, so children who have an egg allergy do not usually have a problem with eating chicken.
It is easy to avoid eggs that are served on their own when they look like an egg however they are often hidden in prepared and manufactured foods so beware.
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.
What Part Of The Egg Causes Reactions
People with egg allergy are usually reacting to a protein found in egg whites, known as albumen. They can also be allergic to protein found in egg yolks. If your child has an egg allergy, their doctor will likely advise that eggs be avoided entirely. Completely separating egg whites and egg yolks can be difficult.
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What Are The Symptoms Of An Allergic Or Allergic
When someone comes in contact with a food allergen or added sulphites, the symptoms of an allergic or allergic-type reaction may develop quickly and rapidly progress from mild to severe. The most severe form of an allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. Symptoms can include breathing difficulties, a drop in blood pressure or shock, which may result in loss of consciousness and even death. A person experiencing an allergic reaction may have any combination of the following signs or symptoms:
- Skin: hives, swelling , itching, warmth, redness
- Respiratory: coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms , trouble swallowing
- Gastrointestinal: nausea, pain or cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
- Cardiovascular: paler than normal skin colour/blue skin colour, weak pulse, dizziness or light-headedness, loss of consciousness, shock
- Other: anxiety, sense of impending doom, headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste.
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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How Are Severe Allergic Reactions Treated
Currently there is no cure for food allergies. The only option for managing the risk is to completely avoid the specific allergen. Appropriate emergency treatment for anaphylaxis includes an injection of epinephrine, which is available in an auto-injector device. Epinephrine is the only medication that can stop an allergic reaction from progressing and must be administered as soon as symptoms of a severe allergic reaction appear. Antihistamines, if used, should be given AFTER epinephrine has been administered. The injection must be followed by further treatment and observation in a hospital emergency room. If your allergist has diagnosed you with a food allergy and prescribed epinephrine, carry it with you all the time and know how to use it. Follow the advice of your allergist on how to use an auto-injector device.
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, .
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Living An Egg Free Life
Until effective treatments are developed, the only safe approach is to avoid eating eggs. It is relatively easy to avoid eating whole eggs, but you have to also be aware of egg that is hidden in other ingredients.
We cover this subject in detail here, but here are the main foods you need to check for eggs or egg derivatives before consuming them.
Recipes For Kids With Egg Allergies
Coming up with something kids can eat that doesnt contain eggs can be a daunting task for parents. Eggs are almost always found in breads, pasta, cereals, pastries, cookies, and cakes. Shiny breads such as bagels and pretzels almost always contain eggs as well. They are brushed with an egg wash before baking to give them a sheen. Eggs often show up in candies, cream fillings, salad dressings, and beverages such as root beer. Many fried restaurant foods use egg to get the fried batter to stick. This too can cause an allergic reaction.
Foods that may or may not contain eggs include macaroni, marshmallows, and noodles, among others. Parents should consult the ingredient label or manufacturer of these products to be sure.
A good practice starts with reading the ingredient label on packaged foods. The law requires manufacturers to identify if the product contains egg on the ingredient label.
Any food that includes the words emulsifier, binder, coagulant, or any ingredients that begin with ova will contain eggs.
Other ingredients to watch out for include:
- egg substitute
Non-food products that may contain egg include finger paints, shampoos, certain medications, makeup, and some vaccines. This includes most flu vaccines, as well as those for yellow fever and MMR .
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How Do You Diagnose An Egg Allergy
If you suspect that your child has an egg allergy, you should get a referral to an allergist, who can do a skin prick test, a blood test or both to confirm the diagnosis. The skin prick test involves exposing the skin to the allergen and seeing how big of a weal develops. The larger the area of irritated skin, the more likely it is that theyre allergic.
When Triassi Asper sees kids who have reacted to eggs on their own but not in baked goods, she encourages them to continue eating baked products. Tolerating egg in baked goods is an important indicator of whether a child is likely to outgrow an egg allergy altogether but she says research does not yet clearly show that regular consumption of baked egg speeds up tolerance.
If they havent tried baked goods, she will do a blood test to see if they might be able to tolerate the protein that doesnt change when baked. If chances are good, she will do an oral food challenge, which involves baking a muffin using a standard recipe and then bringing it to the doctors office for the child to consume under supervision.
When To See A Doctor
See a doctor if you or your child has signs or symptoms of a food allergy shortly after eating eggs or an egg-containing product. If possible, see the doctor when the allergic reaction is occurring. This may help in making a diagnosis.
If you or your child has signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, seek immediate emergency treatment and use an autoinjector if one has been prescribed.
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Egg Substitutions In Baking As A Binder
For recipes which use eggs primarily as a binder , possible substitutions for one egg include:
Egg Allergy In Adulthood
Egg allergies rarely appear in adulthood. Bird-egg syndrome, although rare, is worth noting. This occurs when bird keepers develop an allergy to bird droppings and feathers, leading to respiratory symptoms. Bird-egg syndrome can progress to an egg allergy. However, unlike primary allergies in childhood, the allergen implicated in bird-egg syndrome is found in the egg yolk rather than the egg white.
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Is There A Cure For An Egg Allergy
While there is no cure for an egg allergy, oral immunotherapy, which involves gradually increasing daily doses of an allergen to build up tolerance, is at the experimental stage for egg, and parents typically have to pay out of pocket because its not covered by provincial healthcare plans. Studies show that oral immunotherapy may help most children tolerate a small serving of egg if they continue to consume a daily dose of egg protein, but more research is needed. Triassi Asper says that oral immunotherapy may reduce the likelihood of anaphylaxis, but the child will still be allergic.
Its not a cure, she says. The child is eating what theyre allergic to, so sometimes there are side effects of the treatment as well. The only fully accepted treatment is avoidance.
What Foods Should Your Child Avoid If Your Child Has An Egg Allergy
Once you know the extent of your childs allergy, you can avoid the foods that trigger it. Egg can be found in a wide variety of processed foods, including breads, pastas and soups. It can even show up in egg substitutes, so its important to read product labels carefully. In Canada, products that contain egg must be clearly labelled. However, precautionary labels that warn of potential cross-contamination with egg are voluntary in Canada, so contact the company if youre worried about a particular product.
Some children who are allergic to chicken eggs are allergic to other bird eggs, such as duck, goose and quail, and a smaller number are also allergic to chicken meat. If your child is allergic to egg, watch them closely when they consume these foods and be ready for a reaction. In addition to foods, egg can also be found in craft materials, such as paints, and hair products.
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How Common Is An Egg Allergy
Egg is one of the most common food allergies in childhood, affecting about two percent of kids and typically showing up the first time they knowingly eat it. However, to become allergic to egg, a child must first be exposed to it in some way, by unknowingly eating trace amounts or coming in contact through broken skin . Its extremely rare for a breastfed baby to be exposed to enough protein in their mothers milk to have an allergic reaction.
How to prepare for an allergist appointmentFood allergies have increased in children over the past few decades, although no one knows exactly why. There are a number of theories, including the possibility that highly allergenic foods are introduced too late in life. Today, parents are urged to introduce egg and other highly allergenic foods, such as peanuts and sesame, by six months of age to help reduce the chances of developing an allergy. The best way to have an influence on preventing food allergies is early introduction, says Triassi Asper.
Visiting Your Doctor About Your Symptoms
If you have allergic symptoms, visit your family doctor who will ask some questions about your allergic reactions. You can also discuss your record of your symptoms. To diagnose your allergy, your doctor may refer you to a specialist doctor known as an allergist or clinical immunologist.Allergists can test for allergies using a number of possible methods depending on the type of potential allergy. To test for an allergy to eggs, the allergist may:
- do a skin prick test
- do a blood test
- ask you to temporarily avoid all eggs or products containing eggs , then follow up with the introduction of egg back into your diet under strict medical supervision.
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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?
Unproven Methods To Test For Allergies
A number of methods claim to test for allergies, but they have not been medically or scientifically proven. They can be costly and could lead to dangerous avoidance of certain foods. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy , the organisation representing allergists in Australia, recommends that you do not use certain methods to have potential allergies tested. These methods include:
- cytotoxic food testing
- Vega testing.
Always speak with your doctor if you are thinking of using a complementary medicine or therapy to test for allergies.
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Characteristics Of Egg Allergy
Egg allergy is one of the most frequent food allergies together with milk and peanut . Eggesbo et al. reported that in a population of over 3000 children at 2.5 years of age 2.6 % Â± 1 % of were diagnosed with egg allergy. This prevalence was found to be similar to what has been reported for adults. Egg sensitisation in one year old children has been found to be highly predictive for the development of asthma in later life .
The clinical symptoms caused by hennsâ eggs in sensitised individuals are similar to those reported for milk and other allergenic foods.
Just like cowâs milk proteins, egg proteins are used as processing aids and therefore a large number of food products may contain residual amounts of egg protein. Egg lysozyme is often used in the preparation of medications as well as in the preparation of a large variety of food products since it can prevent the growth of anaerobic bacteria. Another egg product, egg lecithin is used by the food industry as an emulsifier.
Basil J. Zitelli MD, inZitelli and Davis’ Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis, 2018
Emergency Treatment For Severe Allergic Reactions
Emergency responses for a severe allergic reaction are:
- lay the person flat do not allow them to stand or walk
- administer adrenaline with an autoinjector
- always dial triple zero to call an ambulance in a medical emergency.
If you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction make sure you:
- have a severe allergic reaction action plan
- carry an adrenaline autoinjector to treat a severe allergic reaction
- wear medical identification jewellery this increases the likelihood that adrenaline will be administered in an emergency
- carry a means of calling triple zero , such as a mobile phone
- avoid medication that may increase the severity of allergic reaction or complicate its treatment such as beta blockers
- seek medical advice.
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Egg White Allergy Symptoms
The problem with some food intolerances is that they can end up developing into a full blown allergy. So, you need to pay attention to how bad your symptoms are each time you eat eggs or products that contain them. If you find that you feel worse each time you are exposed to them you could be in danger of developing full blown egg white allergy symptoms.
To help you to understand how things can progress here is a summary of the symptoms egg intolerance followed by the symptoms of an egg white allergy. Comparing them side by side like this should help you to recognize the progression :
Egg white intolerance symptoms
Digestive issues including IBS, bloating, cramps or stomach ache
- Neurological issues severe headaches, migraines and dizziness
- Skin problems especially eczema, but also acne, itchiness and rashes
- Fatigue extreme tiredness after eating,lack of energy, brain fog or lethargy
- Joint pains persistent aches or swelling of the joints, especially the legs
- Psychological problems like depression, anxiety or confusion
- Respiratory problems especially sinusitis and rhinitis