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Egg Allergy Basics

Egg allergy:

An egg allergy is an immune reaction to egg proteins. Eggs contain many proteins that can be allergenic. It is a common allergy in children and can cause an anaphylactic reaction. Some people may be allergic to only the egg yolk or only the egg whites, but if the allergy is severe, the entire egg must be avoided because of the risk of contamination from one part of the egg to the other.

Symptoms of egg allergy:

The symptoms of egg allergy can be divided into 3 categories:

  • Gastrointestinal – bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, gas, diarrhea
  • Respiratory – runny or stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, asthma with coughing and wheezing
  • Skin – hives, eczema, swelling of tissue

Anaphylaxis is most severe allergic reaction, involving every above organ system. It can lead to anaphylactic shock and death.

The egg-free diet:

Following an egg-free diet requires the elimination of the following types of foods and non-foods:

  • All types of eggs – both the yolk and whites of all types of eggs, until it is determined that eggs from other species do not cause an allergic reaction in an individual
  • All eggs, raw or cooked, until it is determined that cooked egg does not cause an allergic reaction in an individual
  • All products containing any part of eggs, including in the form of egg powder or egg protein
  • Vaccines that have been cultivated in eggs, such as flu and MMR
  • For a more detailed list, read the egg-free guide

Nutritional needs:

Eggs provide vitamin B12, phosphorus, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, zinc, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Other good sources of these nutrients are: meat, poultry, fish, legumes, whole grains and vegetables.