Food allergies are becoming increasingly more common in children. One of the most common allergies in children are eggs. Egg allergies can be mild to severe. They rarely cause anaphylaxis which can be life-threatening. Egg allergies can occur as early as infancy. The good news is as your child’s digestive tract matures, they should grow out of their egg allergy by adolescents. Not all children grow out of this allergy, but it is relatively common for them to.
Egg Allergy Symptoms
An allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to the egg proteins. When your child eats the eggs, the immune system takes it as an invader and attacks it which can cause a number of symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
The most common reaction to an egg allergy is skin inflammation or hives. Other symptoms can include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, cramps, nausea, vomiting, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. It is very rare for an egg allergy to cause anaphylaxis. Which can cause difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, dizziness, or loss of consciousness.
Food Allergy Prevention
It has been studied that feeding allergen foods early in life can help reduce the risk of food allergies in infants up to 80%. For food allergies it is important to start early and give them to your child often. You can start giving your child foods as early as 4-6 months. Speak with your pediatrician for a list of allergen foods that you should start feeding your child early on.
It is also important to try one new food at a time. This can help distinguish if a reaction occurs and what food is causing the reaction. For allergy high foods it is important to expose your infant to the food 2-7 times per week for 3-6 months. This will help train the immune system to build tolerance to these foods that so often cause allergies.
Egg Allergy Increases Risk For Other Allergies
The same reaction that your body undergoes when you have an egg allergy can cause other conditions as well. It is more common for your child to have allergies to milk, soy, or peanuts. Allergies to pet dander, dust mites, and grass pollen.
As well, they will be more susceptible to atopic dermatitis or asthma.
Diagnosing An Egg Allergy
There are multiple ways you can diagnose an egg allergy.
A skin test can be performed by an allergist. This is when a tiny bit of the allergen is pricked onto the skin and you wait a certain amount of time to see if the skin has any reaction.
A blood test can be done to check for egg allergies.
Another way to test is the food challenge. This is when your child is given food under medical supervision, to see what they can handle before having a reaction.
Egg Allergy Treatment
There is no treatment for an egg allergy. Prevention is the best solution.
It is important to learn to read food labels. Be especially careful when eating out at restaurants because eggs can be easily hidden in items. Foods that contain hidden eggs are marshmallows, mayonnaise, meringue, baked goods, breaded foods, marzipan, frostings, processed meat, meatballs, salad dressing, pasta, and pretzels.
Foods that contain albumin, globulin, lecithin, livetin, lysozyme, vitellin, ovalbumin, ovoglobulin all contain some kind of egg protein.
It is also good to be aware that some vaccines contain egg proteins too. The MMR vaccine, flu vaccine, and yellow fever vaccine all contain some egg protein. Make sure you speak with your doctor before your child receives any of these vaccinations.
If your child does come exposed to eggs on accident you can usually treat with over the counter antihistamines. Usually if there is more than one body system involved in the reaction such as skin and lungs, then it is best to treat with epinephrine. This can be prescribed to you by your doctor.
The good news about egg allergies is that with the maturing of the digestive system the allergy usually goes away by adolescents. Early exposure can help decrease the likelihood of a food allergy in your infant to up to 80%. Talk with your pediatrician on how to best expose your infant to allergy high foods. If your child has an egg allergy, make sure you and them both know how to watch out for eggs in foods.
An egg allergy increases your risk for other allergies! #HealthSurgeon