Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies seen in the United States. Although egg allergies disproportionally affect children, adults can suffer from them as well. While having a food allergy to such a common substance as eggs may seem overwhelming, there is expert help available. The allergy specialists at Accent Allergy in Gainesville, FL have dealt with every type of allergy imaginable and have the knowledge and experience to help you effectively manage your own egg allergy or that of your child.
Egg allergy symptoms
Egg allergy symptoms are very similar to manifestations of other food allergies. The most common symptom by far is skin irritation in the form of a rash, eczema or hives. Nasal drainage, congestion and sneezing may also occur. Additionally, gastrointestinal upset like nausea, diarrhea or stomach cramps are not uncommon.
In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis may occur. If you notice swelling of the neck or face, a very fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, disorientation or loss of consciousness, you could be dealing with anaphylaxis. This is a serious emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
Egg allergy causes
Food allergies are the result of an abnormal, increased immune response to certain proteins. Eggs are chock full of various proteins, which means they can be part of a healthy meal, but this is bad news for those with an egg sensitivity or allergy. Coming into contact with these proteins triggers allergy symptoms in allergic patients. Although both egg whites and yolk contain protein, most allergic people only have a reaction to egg whites.
How long do egg allergy symptoms last?
An allergy to eggs typically shows up in early childhood. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases the allergy goes away by the time the child is ready for elementary school. Of course, some individuals do carry the allergy their entire lives.
- Age– younger children, including infants, are at a much higher risk of developing an egg allergy than are older children and adults. As a child ages there is a good likelihood that they will outgrow their egg allergy.
- Atopic dermatitis – there is a strong link between atopic dermatitis, a skin sensitivity condition, and egg allergies. People with this condition are much more likely to have an allergy to eggs than the general population.
- Family history – there appears to be a genetic connection with egg allergies. If a parent has allergies, even just to pollen, eczema or asthma, then their children are more prone to develop egg allergies.
As with any allergy, the most serious complication that can arise is anaphylaxis. This condition is life threatening and must be treated immediately with epinephrine and professional medical care.
Other than anaphylaxis, most complications arise from being unprepared for an egg exposure. Many patients do not realize that they are unexpected egg sources in their daily lives. For example, egg allergic infants may experience symptoms from breastfeeding if their mother eats eggs. Also, several vaccines, like the influenza vaccine, often contain egg products. Before having your allergic child vaccinated, find out if the vaccine in question has any egg proteins among its ingredients and consult with your pediatrician and allergist.
Tests and Diagnosis
The allergy specialists at Accent Allergy provide several different testing options to confirm a suspected egg allergy. The first of these is via a skin test. A small amount of allergen is placed on your skin and the spot is checked about half an hour later. A positive reaction indicates an allergy. This allergy test is very convenient as it can be performed in the office, and you will know your results before you leave.
Since many egg sensitive people also suffer from eczema or other skin conditions, a skin test may not be a good choice. In this case, your allergy specialist may recommend RAST testing. This involves drawing a small amount of blood and sending it off for specialized testing. While RAST tests are very sensitive, you will not receive your results immediately.
Another testing option is a food exposure challenge. The experts at Accent Allergy will direct you on how to adjust your diet to carefully check for an egg allergy. As other possible food culprits are eliminated from your meals one by one, the exact allergen is narrowed down and then discovered.
Egg allergy treatment
While there is no complete “cure” for an egg allergy, avoidance is very effective for managing symptoms. Your allergy physician can guide you on eliminating eggs from your diet, but here are just some of the many egg allergy foods to avoid:
- Foods that are breaded or battered.
- Foamed coffee drinks.
- Egg noodles.
- Egg substitute.
- Egg rolls.
- Chicken, tuna or potato salad.
- Hollandaise sauce.
- Tartar sauce.
- Certain soups.
- Ice cream.
- Cream and cream desserts.
- Anything containing the proteins albumin, ovovitellin, ovalbumin, lecithin, lysozyme or globulin.
Certain vaccines as mentioned above.
If you or your child have an egg allergy, it is very important that you always read labels on packaged foods and ask questions when eating out. Don’t take chances with your health.
Also, be certain to always carry an EpiPen or other epinephrine delivery device in the event of an anaphylactic reaction. Wearing an allergy alert bracelet is also a great idea.
Contact food allergy specialists!
If you suspect that you or your child may have an egg allergy, please contact us! The allergy experts at Accent Allergy are able and willing to assist you in managing your allergies. They can also provide you with knowledge and advice on how to avoid food allergy symptoms altogether.
Accent Allergy & Sinus Center | 4340 W Newberry Rd #301 | Gainesville, FL 32607 | (352) 271-5389