What is egg allergy, symptoms and what to do

Egg allergy occurs when the immune system identifies the egg white proteins as a foreign body, triggering an allergic reaction with symptoms such as:

  • Redness and itching of the skin;
  • Stomach ache;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Coryza;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Dry cough and wheezing when breathing.

These symptoms appear within minutes of eating an egg, but it may take several hours before symptoms appear, and in these cases, the allergy may be more difficult to identify.

Generally, egg allergy can be identified in the first months of life, between 6 and 12 months of age, and in some cases, it can disappear during adolescence.

Since the intensity of the symptoms can vary over time, it is important to avoid eating any food with traces of egg, as a severe anaphylaxis reaction can occur, in which the person may be unable to breathe. Know what anaphylaxis is and what to do .

How to confirm an allergy

The diagnosis of egg allergy is often made through the provocation test, in which a piece of egg must be ingested, in the hospital, so that the doctor observes the occurrence of the symptoms mentioned above. Another way is to have an egg allergy skin test or a blood test to identify the presence of specific antibodies to the egg.

Learn more about how tests work to identify allergies .

What to do to avoid egg allergy

The best way to avoid allergy is to exclude the egg from the food and, therefore, it is important not to eat eggs or any other food that may contain traces, such as:

  • Cakes; 
  • Bread;
  • Cookies;
  • Breaded;
  • Mayonnaise.

Thus, it is still advisable to carefully observe the food labels, because in many there is an indication that there may be traces of egg.

Egg allergy is more common in childhood, but most of the time, this allergy resolves naturally after a few years, without the need for specific treatment.

Why should some vaccines be avoided?

Some vaccines use egg whites when they are made, so children or adults who have a severe allergy to eggs should not receive this type of vaccine.

However, some people only have a mild egg allergy and, in these cases, the vaccine can be taken normally. However, if the doctor or nurse considers the allergy to be severe, the vaccine should be avoided. 

When to include the egg in your child’s diet

The American Society of Pediatrics (AAP) indicates that the introduction of allergenic foods between 4 and 6 months of age can help decrease the child’s risk of developing food allergies, including babies with a family history of allergy and / or severe eczema. However, these guidelines should always be followed only with the guidance of a pediatrician.

Thus, the AAP concludes that there is insufficient scientific evidence to justify the delay in introducing allergenic foods, such as eggs, peanuts or fish.

Previously, it was indicated that the whole egg should only be introduced normally into the child’s diet after the first year of age, and the egg yolk should be included first, at around 9 months of age and offering only 1/4 of the yolk every 15 days, to assess whether the baby had allergy symptoms.

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