Could this be an egg allergy?
Eighteen month old Emma broke out in hives one morning when her family excitedly tried out a new food at breakfast – scrambled eggs. Luckily Emma’s hives went away and her symptoms didn’t worsen.
Her parents took Emma to a Board Certified Allergist to see if Emma was possibly allergic to eggs.
Emma’s parents had so many questions. If Emma had an egg allergy, would she outgrow it? What foods and ingredients would Emma need to avoid? How strictly do they need to avoid eggs?
In this article we will discuss what to know when diagnosed with an egg allergy.
Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here. Keep in mind food production can change, always check food labels to be sure products are free of your particular food allergen. For further information please see full Disclaimer.
Table of Contents
How Common is an Egg Allergy?
Roughly 2% of children are allergic to eggs.
An egg allergy is more common in children, but can occur as an adult.
What are the 9 Most Common Food Allergies?
The top 9 food allergies also known as the big 9 allergens in the United States are:
You can be allergic to many other foods besides these top nine.
What are Symptoms of an Egg Allergy?
Egg allergy symptoms can vary from person to person. Here are some typical reactions:
- Swelling of lips, tongue, throat, face
- Itching or swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Wheezing (difficulty breathing)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose
- Nasal Congestion (stuffy nose)
- Digestive problems
- Loss of consciousness
An allergic reaction to eggs can occur minutes to hours after ingestion. Reactions to egg may be mild in many cases (requiring only an antihistamine).
Anaphylaxis is rare with an egg allergy. However, it is possible. If a severe reaction occurs, epinephrine is required.
A Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan is a great tool for personalized food allergy treatment.
Reasons for Increased Risk of an Egg Allergy
If you have someone in your immediate family with a history of a food allergy, eczema, hay fever, hives, or asthma.
If you have a condition called atomic dermatitis you may have an increased chance of developing an egg allergy.
Egg allergies are much more common in children than in adults. There is about a 71% chance that an egg allergy will be outgrown by a child by the time they are 6 years old (1).
Foods to Avoid with an Egg Allergy
Someone diagnosed with an egg yolk allergy or with an egg white allergy needs to eliminate egg all together in their diet as it is impossible for the yolk and white to not touch each other. An allergy to egg whites is more common.
In the United States, an egg allergy usually refers to a chicken egg. You should speak to your doctor about eggs from other birds. Chances are that the doctor will recommend that you avoid eggs from geese, quails, turkeys, and ducks as well.
Foods that may contain eggs include:
- Baked Goods
- Breakfast Foods like pancakes, waffles
- Canned Soup
- Foam toppings on Drinks (example: coffee or drinks from bars)
- Fried Rice
- Hollandaise Sauce
- Ice Cream
- Meat dishes like Meatballs or Meatloaf
- Processed meat, meatloaf and meatballs
- Protein Powders
- Salad dressing
- Some Commercial Egg Substitutes
- Souffle Speciality Drinks
Several ingredient names indicate that egg was used to manufacture the food. Some of these ingredient names are:
- Albumin (also spelled albumen)
- Any ingredient that starts with “ova” or “ovo”
- Avidin Globulin
- Egg (may be in the form of powder, yolk, white, solid)
While some individuals may tolerate cooked or baked eggs, this needs to be discussed with a Board Certified Allergist. It is estimated that 70% of children with an egg allergy may be able to consume baked eggs without an issue (2).
Vaccines may contain egg proteins. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have an egg allergy and plan to get a vaccine.
Arts and Crafts supplies may also contain egg. Allergens in Arts and Crafts are always an important consideration when someone has a food allergy, especially young children.
Food Allergy Labeling. About FALCPA
In 2004, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), identified the following foods as major food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy.
Effective January 1, 2023, the FASTER Act (the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act) was signed into law, adding sesame as the 9th major food allergen recognized in the U.S.
FALCPA requires that foods or ingredients that contain major food allergens be labeled with the name of the allergen source.
FALCPA states that major food allergens should be listed in one of three ways:
- In the ingredient list, using the allergen’s common name.
- By citing the word “Contains” followed by the name of the major food allergen—for example, “Contains eggs”
- In the ingredient list in parentheses after a less common name of ingredient that may contain an allergen. Example: Ovalbumin (egg).
Made in a Facility/Cross Contamination Statements
Food manufacturers may use equipment to produce multiple products. This may lead to cross contamination of allergens. Some manufacturers disclose this information and others do not. This is true for both FALCPA and non-FALCPA allergens.
Cross contamination statements are not required in the U.S. Call the manufacturer to learn about their manufacturing practices.
Always be sure to ask how food is prepared.
Egg Allergy Treatment
- Always read food labels and look for egg ingredients
- Avoid all foods related to your allergy. Learn less common names for your particular food allergy.
- Become familiar with labeling laws.
- Talk to your Board Certified Allergist
- Be mindful of risk for cross contamination
- Be prepared to treat your egg allergy in the case of accidental ingestion. Be sure to have not one, but two doses of epinephrine available when eating. Talk to your doctor about how to treat symptoms of an allergic reaction and visit www.foodallergy.org for more detailed information about treating food allergies.
An egg allergy usually occurs in young children and is often outgrown.
Egg appears as an ingredient in many foods. Be sure to read food labels carefully.
If you have an egg allergy, be sure to ask about how food is prepared when dining out.
If you think you may be allergic to egg see a Board Certified Allergist.
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Last Updated on February 13, 2023 by Amber DeVore, RD, CSSD, CLT