Egg Allergies May Mean Changing A Little More Than Your Breakfast Order

At first, the idea of having an egg allergy doesn’t sound that bad. After all, it only means no scrambled eggs for breakfast, so what is the big deal? But truth be told, having an egg allergy is a bit more complicated than that. Eggs are often used as an ingredient in many recipes and many packaged items, such as in making chicken cutlets or preparing baked goods. In order to avoid an allergic reaction, those with an egg allergy need to be careful about learning what to look for on food labels and what to ask when eating out.

By doing that, one can be safe and healthy despite the egg allergy.

Egg Allergy

Eggs are a very healthy food choice, as the source of protein it contains is readily available for the human body. It also contains Choline, which has been shown to play an instrumental role in brain development for young children. However, for those who are allergic to eggs, the bodies immune system thinks they are bad and starts to fight off the protein in it as if it were an infection. Most people are allergic to the protein in egg whites, but some are allergic to those proteins found in the yolk.

As a person with the food allergy ingests eggs, the body will experience an allergic reaction as histamine will be released in the body. Symptoms can include any of the following: coughing, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, itchy eyes, hives and/or throat tightness. Some severe reactions can result in anaphylaxis, which would require immediate medical attention as it can be life threatening.

Diagnosis

Most egg allergies are diagnosed in very young children, with many of those outgrowing this allergy by age 5. However, there are some who will never outgrow this allergy.

To diagnose an egg allergy your doctor may refer you to an allergist. The allergist then may send you for allergy blood tests, perform a skin test or even use a food challenge to help with this diagnosis.

A food challenge has the patient eat a food that contains eggs while under close supervision. If the food causes a reaction, they will be able to confirm the allergy.

The Flu Vaccine

For those considering having a flu vaccine, it is important to share your allergy with your physician. Many influenza vaccines contain a small amount of egg proteins which can cause some concern. While most research concludes that the flu vaccine is safe for even those with egg allergies, safe precautions may need to be taken before it is administered.

Egg-free Diets

Once diagnosed with an allergy it is most important to follow an egg-free diet. It is important that you learn how to read a label to be sure something is egg free. Fortunately, in the United States, manufacturers must list the common allergens on the packaging, so if it contains eggs it will be listed. It can say any of the following: “contains egg ingredients,” “made using egg ingredients,”  or “made in a facility that also processes eggs.”

Other Ways Eggs Appear on Labels

It is important to know that while the word egg is easy to recognize on a label, there are other words to look for that indicate egg ingredients.

Eggs may show up as: albumin, livetin, globulin, lysozyme, ovalbumin, ovoglobulin, ovomucin, ovomucoid, ovotransferrin, ovovitella, ovovitellin, silica albuminate, simples, vitellin.

Watch for Hidden Sources of Eggs

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) there are also many foods that “may” contain hidden sources of eggs. Take a look at these common foods that at first glance might not come to mind, when thinking of your egg allergy: Artificial and natural flavorings, baked goods, egg substitutes, frosting, ice cream, mayonnaise, marshmallows, pasta, and salad dressings.

Final Word

Bottom line is an egg allergy means more than changing up your breakfast order. But don’t worry, once you learn what to look for on a label and dismiss foods with hidden sources of the allergen, you will be able to easily find new foods to enjoy just as much!

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