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Egg Allergy: What Are the Symptoms?

  • What is an egg allergy?

    What is an egg allergy?

    Egg allergy is one of the most common types of food
    allergies among children in the United States, according to Food Allergy Research &
    Education (FARE). If your child has an egg allergy, their
    immune system mistakenly identifies proteins found in egg as harmful. When your
    child eats the egg protein, their immune system responds by releasing histamine
    and other chemicals. This triggers an allergic reaction, which can involve
    potentially life-threatening symptoms.

  • Who can develop an egg allergy?

    Who can develop an egg allergy?

    Anyone can develop an egg allergy, but some people have
    a higher chance than others. Risk factors include: 

    • Age: Egg allergy most commonly affects children. According to
      the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology (ACAAI), as many as 2 percent of American kids have egg
      allergy. But most of them outgrow it by age 16.
    • Skin conditions: If your child has certain skin
      conditions, especially eczema, they’re more likely to develop food allergies.
    • Genetics: If one or both parents has a food allergy, a child is
      more likely to develop food allergies too. A family history of other
      allergic conditions, such as seasonal allergies, can also raises your
      child’s risk.
  • What part of the egg causes reactions?

    What part of the egg causes reactions?

    People with egg allergy are
    usually reacting to a protein found in egg whites, known as albumen. They can
    also be allergic to protein found in egg yolks. If your child has an egg
    allergy, their doctor will likely advise that eggs be avoided entirely. Completely
    separating egg whites and egg yolks can be difficult.

  • Minor symptoms of an allergic reaction

    Minor symptoms of an allergic reaction

    The symptoms of an allergic
    reaction can vary from person to person. The types of reactions can vary as
    well. A reaction can appear as quickly as a few minutes after your child
    consumes egg and can range from mild to severe.

    Hives are often one of the first signs of an
    allergic reaction. They are red swollen patches that may appear on your child’s
    face or other parts of their body after they eat egg. Other mild allergic
    symptoms include:

    • nasal congestion
    • coughing or tight chest
    • cramps, nausea, and sometimes
      vomiting
  • Severe symptoms of an allergic reaction

    Severe symptoms of an allergic reaction

    In some cases, your child may
    experience a severe allergic reaction to egg. This is called anaphylaxis. This
    type of reaction can develop quickly and affect multiple body systems at once.
    In addition to milder symptoms, anaphylaxis can involve potentially
    life-threatening symptoms, such as:

    • swelling of your child’s tongue and lips
    • constriction of your child’s throat
    • difficulty breathing
    • dizziness
    • rapid drop in blood pressure
    • loss of consciousness 

    It’s important to treat anaphylaxis immediately with
    an injected dose of epinephrine. 

  • How can you prevent an allergic reaction?

    How can you prevent an allergic reaction?

    If your child has an egg allergy,
    the only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid eating or coming in
    contact with egg. Help them learn how to check food and beverage labels for egg
    and egg protein. Sometimes egg protein is listed under other names, such as:

    • vitellin
    • simplesse
    • lysozyme
    • livetin
    • lecithin
    • globulin
    • albumin or albumen
    • words starting with “ova” or “ovo,” the prefix
      for ovum, which is Latin for egg

    Help your child avoid products that include or may
    contain any of these ingredients.

  • Watch out for unexpected sources!

    Watch out for unexpected sources!

    Egg can appear in many types of
    food and drink, often in unexpected places. In addition to many baked goods, such
    as cookies and cakes, egg can be found in:

    • pasta
    • salad dressing
    • mayonnaise
    • meatloaf and meatballs
    • pudding
    • marshmallows
    • cake frosting
    • specialty drinks

    If you’re not sure if a product contains egg or egg
    protein, contact the manufacturer.

  • How can you treat an allergic reaction?

    How can you treat an allergic reaction?

    If your child has been diagnosed
    with an egg allergy, their doctor will likely refer them to an allergist. The specialist
    can help you and your child learn how to avoid egg and treat an allergic
    reaction.

    To treat a mild allergic reaction, your child’s allergist
    may recommend antihistamines. To treat a severe allergic reaction, your child
    may need a dose of epinephrine. This medication will help reduce swelling,
    stimulate your child’s heart, increase their blood pressure, and improve their
    breathing. It’s important to give epinephrine at the first sign of an allergic
    reaction and get your child to the emergency room for follow-up care. Without
    prompt treatment, anaphylaxis can be fatal.

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References:

  • Egg allergy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.foodallergy.org/allergens/egg-allergy
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015, January 27). Egg allergy.
    Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/egg-allergy/basics/definition/con-20032721 
  • Types of food allergy: Egg allergy. (n.d). Retrieved from
    http://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/types-food-allergy/egg-allergy

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Posted by: Dr.Health

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