We talk about the big eight allergens all the time but today we’ll focus specifically on the egg allergen. Egg allergy is the second most common food allergy among infants and children, second to milk allergy. It’s estimated to affect about 1.5% of young kids. In most cases, allergic reactions to egg involve the skin, which may explain why egg allergy is the most common food allergy among infants and children with eczema. However, more severe reactions, including anaphylaxis, are possible. The good news is that egg allergy is one of the most likely to be outgrown. About 70% of children outgrow their egg allergy by the age of 16.
New Research on Egg Allergy in Children:
Although relatively common, little is known about the risk factors for egg allergy. Recently, a group of researchers designed a study to learn more about who is at risk for egg allergy. They found an increased risk among infants with a family history of allergy and those with parents born in East Asia[i]. Interestingly, they also found that exposure to dogs and having siblings during the first year of life may decrease the risk of egg allergy. It’s important to remember that there are likely many factors contributing to the development of food allergy and there is no single cause or preventive factor. However, this information may help contribute to the understanding of why some children develop egg allergy and others don’t.
Egg Allergy and the Flu Shot:
With flu season fast approaching, flu shots are being offered just about everywhere. However, if your child has an egg allergy, it’s important to discuss it with their doctor first. The influenza vaccine is grown on egg embryos, so it may contain a small amount of egg protein and for those with an allergy to egg, trigger an allergic reaction. Therefore, be sure to talk with the doctor about whether or not it’s appropriate for your child and what precautions you may need to take to keep your little one safe. Depending on the severity of previous reactions, they may recommend that the flu shot be given in the pediatrician or allergist’s office so that the child be monitored for any reaction for 30 minutes afterwards.
For more information on managing your little one’s egg allergy, visit the Kids with Food Allergies website for some great tips, resources, and recipes.
Koplin JJet al.Environmental and demographic risk factors for egg allergy in a population-based study of infants. Allergy2012;67:1415–1422.
Egg Allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Accessed November 2, 2012. http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/food-allergies/types/Pages/egg-allergy.aspx.
Eggs. Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. Accessed November 2, 2012. http://www.foodallergy.org/page/egg-allergy.