Egg Allergies

Information on the causes of egg allergies and egg allergy symptoms.

Select a Topic

  1. What Are Egg Allergies?
  2. Diagnosing Egg Allergies
  3. What Causes Egg Allergies?
  4. Help for Egg Allergy Sufferers
  5. More Information about Egg Allergies

What Are Egg Allergies?

Egg allergies are more prevelant in children than in adults, and are one of the most common food allergies children suffer from. Allergies to eggs frequently disappear prior to adolescence; however, they can persist throughout the lifespan for some. Like other allergies, reactions may be mild or life threatening.

Diagnosing Egg Allergies

Symptoms of egg allergies are diverse. They usually appear shortly after ingestion of eggs or foods and other substances that contain eggs.

The most common reaction is hives. Hives are intensely itchy, red, swollen welts or bumps on the skin that can sometimes be quite large. Runny nose or feelings of stuffiness in the nose may be present as well, and a scratchy throat and dry cough may occur.

Some people experience digestive complaints such as nausea, vomiting, cramps or loose stools.

The most serious allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which is a life threatening emergency. If symptoms of anaphylaxis occur, call 911 immediately. Signs of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, lightheadedness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and swelling within the airway. Sometimes these symptoms are accompanied by hives or digestive disturbance. Anaphylaxis requires immediate treatment with epinephrine injections.

Causes of Egg Allergies

In the event of an egg allergy, a person's immune system misidentifies and reacts to proteins in eggs as if they are harmful substances. As a result, the body releases histamines and other chemicals which are designed to protect it. These chemicals cause the allergic symptoms.

Help for Egg Allergy Sufferers

Both conventional and natural health practitioners offer strategies for preventing and relieving allergies from eggs. Each will obtain a detailed medical history, after which skin testing, muscle tests or blood tests may be administered, and special dietary instructions will be provided. Either conventional or alternative practitioners may also recommend antihistamine administration.

A conventional medical practitioner may provide a prescription and instructions for using an Epi-pen, which is a self-administered injection of epinephrine that is used in emergencies, or may refer patients to specialists who are experts in the field of allergies and immune system disorders.

More Information about Egg Allergies

  • While egg whites are generally the culprit in egg allergies, the yolks can cause allergic reactions as well.
  • Babies who are sensitive to eggs may react if a breastfeeding mother consumes eggs.
  • People who suffer from atopic dermatitis, a skin condition, are more susceptible to allergies.
  • People who are allergic to one substance have a higher likelihood of having additional allergies.
  • Allergies sometimes run in families.
  • If a child is allergic to eggs, let caregivers know. Consider using a medical alert bracelet or necklace if the reaction is serious.
  • Eggs are prevalent in multiple foods, so read labels. Lecithin, globulin, albumin and words that begin with the prefix “ova” are likely to contain egg.
  • Foods that contain eggs include marshmallows, packaged foods, mayonnaise and processed meats.
  • Some cosmetics and medications contain egg proteins.
  • Finger paints may contain egg protein.
  • Some immunizations should not be administered to people who are allergic to eggs. Always check with your health care provider before immunizing.

The best treatment for an egg allergy is prevention. Avoid eating eggs and foods which contain eggs. Have a plan in case a reaction occurs based upon individual health history and needs.

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