Egg Allergy

 
Contributed by : Ravina Sewani   
Egg Allergy

Egg allergy is one of the most common allergies among all.

In an egg allergy, the body mistakes the egg proteins as a threat which triggers the immune system to produce an allergic reaction to those proteins. An allergic reaction to the proteins in egg white or yolk or both is possible.

Studies have shown that 2 out of 100 children are allergic to egg but around 70% of them outgrow the allergy by the time they reach adulthood.

Egg proteins are found in raw, boiled/parboiled, poached, baked, or powdered form of eggs.

It is advisable to avoid egg-based foods as it is difficult to completely separate the white from the yolk. Traces of yolk might be present in a few commercially available 'egg-white products'.

Children with egg allergy can be safely vaccinated for MMR and Flu vaccine.

Eggs can be introduced into your child’s diet by a scientific approach called “egg ladder”. Egg Ladder is a specific scientific food chart designed for the easy reintroduction of eggs in the diet and to induce egg tolerance to combat egg allergy.


Symptoms:

  • Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing or dry cough
  • Eczema (a dry, itchy rash) or hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas on the skin)
  • Redness of the skin around the mouth or eyes
  • Itchy mouth, ear canal or lip swelling, odd taste in the mouth
  • Nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea or stomach pain
  • Severe reactions include loss of consciousness, chest pain, turning pale, shortness of breath, trouble swallowing, or anaphylaxis.


Diagnosis:

  • The first thing is to not self-diagnose and assume your child to be allergic to eggs. Always rely on a healthcare expert's opinion before avoiding egg-based products.
  • A healthcare expert will examine your child's symptoms, his/her health history, and conduct other tests if required, to confirm whether your child has an egg allergy or not.
  • Egg allergy has very mild symptoms and is not known to cause severe reactions.


Foods to avoid:

  • In breastfed infants, the egg proteins from mother’s diet may transmit to the baby via breast milk and cause an egg allergy to develop an egg allergy.
  • Eggs from birds like quails, duck, geese, turkey as well if your child has an egg allergy need to be avoided.


Other foods to avoid:

  • Mayo or mayonnaise
  • Nougat
  • Marshmallows
  • Ice cream
  • Parents are usually also concerned about giving baked foods to children who have milk or egg allergies. Research indicates that 70%of children allergic to milk or egg can tolerate baked food as high temperature baking can destroy the allergens in milk and egg. Introduction of baked food is known to increase the tolerance to whole forms of milk/egg.
  • Always consult your child’s paediatrician to look for alternate sources of nutrition as avoiding milk and egg based foods may develop nutritional deficiency.


Treating allergies:

  • The best way to prevent allergies of any sort in children is to avoid the source of the allergen.
  • In allergies, paediatricians usually prescribe antihistamine medicines for mild allergic reactions. Whereas for severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, your child’s paediatrician will prescribe an adrenaline auto-injector (AAI).


Precautions:

  • Develop a habit of reading the food labels for ingredients and allergy information.
  • Teach your child to mention about the allergy whenever (s)he goes to visit someone.
  • Inform your child’s school about your child’s allergy. You can also give the medicines prescribed by your child’s doctor to the school which they can use in case of sudden allergic reactions.
  • Be careful about the possibility of cross-contact; especially when visiting a restaurant.
  • Always keep the allergy medication handy for your child.


Egg allergy and vaccines:

There are several contradictions revolving around developing egg allergies due to a few vaccines like the MMR vaccine, influenza vaccine and yellow fever vaccine. If your child is diagnosed with egg allergy, it is best to consult your child’s paediatrician and then get your child vaccinated.




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