Egg Allergy

It is quite common for people to have an egg allergy–an allergic reaction when egg or products containing eggs are consumed.  An allergy triggers the body’s immune system which kicks in and tries to destroy the offending substance. It is different from an intolerance to a food where people might have allergy-like symptoms but the immune system is not triggered. In the case of an allergy, your body has identified one of the proteins in the egg as harmful and will release immunoglobulin E antibodies to destroy the intruder.  The body will accomplish this by releasing histamines.

An egg allergy is most often seen in children and usually disappears by the time the child reaches the age of five.  This allergy can cause sickness with minutes after eating an egg or a product containing eggs, or sometimes, you can have a delayed reaction of a few hours.  In either case, the allergic reaction will usually consist of the skin breaking out into a rash, hives, vomiting, cramps, nausea or swollen nasal passages.  It’s rare but this allergy can also cause anaphylaxis, a condition in which your blood pressure drops, your respiratory system is affected, you have trouble breathing, and you can fall into a coma and die. Anaphylaxis requires immediate emergency room treatment. For normal allergic reactions, over the counter antihistamine products can usually do the trick.

A person might be allergic to eggs for several reasons–it might genetic and there might be a family history of egg allergies.  It can be caused by allergies to a related food such as milk, or affected by age–as your body grows older it may disappear. Kids who have atopic dermatitis or eczema are also more susceptible to an egg allergy.

The problem with diagnosing an allergy is that it often occurs immediately after eating and is gone before you can get to a doctor’s office. There are, however, two methods of testing to find out if you have an egg allergy.  The first is a skin test where the patient’s skin is pricked and exposed to the offending substance.  The appearance of a hive at the site indicates an allergy.  In the second method, your blood will be taken after an allergic reaction and then tested to see if it has quantities of immunoglobulin in the blood.

If tests reveal that you do indeed have an egg allergy, the best thing you can do is to not eat any eggs or products that contain eggs.  This is a tough allergy to have as just about all baked products have eggs. No matter how hard you try to stay away from eggs, it’s best always to be prepared with antihistamines-either prescribed or over the counter–and to carry a little anaphylaxis kit at all times.  These come with a syringe pre-filled with epinephrine (adrenaline), which can stop a major allergic reaction in minutes, saving you from a trip to the emergency room and possibly even death.

Prevention of an allergic reaction to eggs might also mean avoiding some non-food products as well.  Many shampoos, cosmetics and medications contain eggs or egg protein so it is necessary to read all package labels before buying products. Flu-shots are known to have egg ingredients so make sure your doctor is fully aware that you have a problem with certain foods.  It is also good to wear a medic alert bracelet so people, including emergency technicians, can treat you appropriately if you are unable to tell them yourself.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *