Ways to Prevent Egg Allergies
By Diane Marks
There is no way to completely prevent a food allergy, but you can take precautions to minimize the consumption of eggs, according to MayoClinic.com. Egg allergies are common among children and adults, and can cause mild to severe allergic reactions. If you’re allergic to eggs, your immune system doesn’t recognize the proteins in the egg whites or yolk as safe and begins to attack them with antibodies and other chemicals, according to Kids Health. Talk with your doctor to properly diagnose your condition and discuss the most effective ways to deal with an egg allergy.
One of the most effective ways of dealing with an egg allergy is to identify and confirm which proteins in the egg you’re allergic to. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that allergy testing can help your doctor determine the type of egg proteins you’re allergic to and the severity of the allergy. Allergy testing is administered in two forms: skin tests and blood tests. A skin test is performed by taking the various proteins found in eggs and injecting a small amount under the skin. The allergist will observe the skin for 20 to 30 minutes to see if the skin becomes inflamed or irritated. If your doctor wants to use a blood test, she will draw your blood, then inject egg proteins into it to determine if your blood produces IgE antibodies to fight off the proteins.
Modify Your Diet
Your doctor may recommend modifying your diet. The Cleveland Clinic states that eggs may be obvious or hidden in some foods. The Federal Government requires that all pre-packaged foods include disclosures regarding the use of eggs in the product. Read all ingredients before eating any food product. Obvious ingredients include egg solids, dried eggs, egg whites, egg powder and egg yolks. Ingredients that are not-so-obvious include: albumin, livetin, globulin, ovablumin, apovitellenin, phosvitin and ovomucin. Some foods that may contain eggs are: cookies, cakes, custard, ice cream, frosting, mayonnaise, marshmallows, meat in batter, doughnuts and egg rolls.
Identify Uncommon Sources
Certain non-food items may cause an allergic reaction if you’re allergic to eggs, according to MayoClinic.com. These items may include shampoo, cosmetics, medications and finger paints. Because most of these non-food items come into direct contact with the skin, the symptoms that will most likely develop include skin rashes, hives, eczema and skin itchiness.
• Kids Health: Egg Allergy
Having an egg allergy doesn’t have to be a big thing — all you need to do is skip breakfast, right? Wrong. Eggs are found in more than just omelets (and we all know skipping breakfast is never a good idea!). Living with an egg allergy means you have to be aware of what you’re eating and read food labels carefully. It’s work, but it’s worth it.
What Happens With an Egg Allergy?
Eggs in themselves aren’t bad. But when you’re allergic to them, your body thinks they are. The body’s immune system normally fights infection. But when someone is allergic to a food, like eggs, the immune system overreacts to proteins in that food.
Most people who are allergic to eggs react to the proteins in egg whites, but some can’t tolerate proteins in the yolk. Every time the person eats an egg, the body thinks these proteins are harmful invaders. The immune system responds by kicking into high gear to fend off the “invader.” This causes an allergic reaction, in which chemicals like histamine are released in the body.
The release of these chemicals can cause someone to have the following problems:
• trouble breathing
• throat tightness
• itchy, watery, or swollen eyes #
• red spots
• a drop in blood pressure
Egg allergies can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis may begin with some of the same symptoms as a less severe reaction, but then quickly worsen. A person might have trouble breathing, feel lightheaded, or pass out. If it’s not treated, anaphylaxis can be life threatening.
Egg allergy usually first appears when kids are very young. Most kids outgrow an egg allergy by the time they’re 5 years old, but some people remain allergic.
The viruses for the flu vaccine are grown in chicken eggs. If you have an egg allergy, ask your doctor about whether it’s a good idea to get the vaccine. In most cases, it’s OK for people to get the shot — but not the nasal mist — if their egg allergy is mild. (A mild reaction is when someone gets hives only, with no other reactions.) Also, if you have an egg allergy, get your flu shot in a doctor’s office, not at a supermarket, drugstore, or other venue.