When someone has an egg allergy, the body's immune system, which normally fights infections, overreacts to proteins in egg. If the person drinks or eats a product that contains egg, the body thinks these proteins are harmful invaders. The immune system responds by working very hard to fight off the invader. This causes an allergic reaction.
Rarely, egg allergy can cause anaphylaxis — a life-threatening reaction.
Egg allergy can occur as early as infancy. Most children, but not all, outgrow their egg allergy before adolescence.
Egg allergy reactions vary from person to person and usually occur soon after exposure to egg.
When someone with an egg allergy has something with egg in it, the body releases chemicals like histamine. The release of these chemicals can cause someone to have symptoms like:
itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
a blood pressure,
A severe allergic reaction can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening emergency that requires an immediate epinephrine (adrenaline) shot and a trip to the emergency room. Anaphylaxis signs and symptoms include:
Constriction of airways, including a swollen throat or a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
Abdominal pain and cramping
Shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure felt as dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
If your doctor thinks you or your child may be at risk of a severe reaction, he or she may prescribe an emergency epinephrine shot to be used if anaphylaxis occurs. The shot comes in a device that makes it easy to deliver, called an autoinjector.
Causes & Risk factors
Certain factors can increase the risk of developing an egg allergy:
Young Age children
The most significant complication of egg allergy is having a severe allergic reaction requiring an epinephrine injection and emergency treatment.
The same immune system reaction that causes egg allergy can also cause other conditions. If you or your child has an egg allergy, you or your child may be at increased risk of:
Allergies to other foods, such as milk, soy or peanuts
Allergies to pet dander, dust mites or grass pollen
Allergic skin reactions such as atopic dermatitis
Asthma, which in turn increases the risk of having a severe allergic reaction to eggs or other foods
Here are some things you can do to avoid an allergic reaction, and to keep it from getting worse if one does occur.
Read food labels carefully.
Be cautious when eating out.
Wear an allergy bracelet or necklace. T
Let your child's caregivers know about an egg allergy.
If you're breast-feeding, avoid eggs.
Hidden sources of egg products
Unfortunately, even if a food is labeled egg-free it may still contain some egg proteins. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer.
Foods that contain eggs can include:
Processed meat, meatloaf and meatballs
Puddings and custards
Foam on alcoholic, specialty coffees
Several terms indicate that egg products have been used in manufacturing processed foods, including:
Your doctor takes a medical history and conducts a physical exam. He or she may also recommend one or more of the following tests:
Skin prick test.
Food tracking or elimination diet.
Antihistamines to ease symptoms
Medications such as antihistamines may reduce signs and symptoms of a mild egg allergy.
Emergency epinephrine shots
You may need to carry an emergency epinephrine injector (EpiPen, -Q, others) at all times.