Allergy refers to an exaggerated immune reaction of immune system in response to exposure to certain foreign substances.These foreign substances are usually seen by our body as harmless and no reaction occurs in nonallergic people.
In allergic individuals, the body recognizes the foreign substance as harmful and one arm of the immune system generates an exaggerated immune response.Allergy producing substances are called “allergens”for example House dust mites, pollen, molds, animal proteins and foods and even medications.
What is egg allergy?
Egg allergy is one of second most common food allergy in children.Allergic reaction on ingestion of egg may range from mild reaction to life threatening anaphylactic shock in children and adults.Fortunately, Studies show that about 70 % of children with egg allergy outgrow their symptoms by 16 year of age.
What causes egg allergy?
Egg allergies happen when immune system mistakenly identifies certain egg proteins as harmful substances. When you and your child comes in contact with egg proteins, immune system cells recognize them and signal other cells of immune system to release histamine and other chemicals that cause allergic signs and symptoms Both egg white and egg yolk contains protein that can cause allergies, but allergy to egg white is more common. If mother consumes egg, it is possible for breast fed infants to have allergic reaction.
What are the symptoms of egg allergy?
Allergy symptoms might develop within minutes to few hours after eating eggs or food containing eggs.
Mild reactions include
- Nasal allergy
- Nausea ,vomiting, abdominal cramps
- Asthma signs and symptoms such as coughing, chest tightness or shortness of breath
Severe Reaction-Life threatening anaphylactic shock, with severe drop in blood pressure felt as dizziness, light light headedness or loss of consciousness.
How is it diagnosed?
Your doctor will start with l medical history and detail physical examination. As per your condition your doctor may recommend one or the following tests:Allergy skin prick test-Skin prick test is done by placing small drop of allergen on your skin, preferably on forearm. The skin is then pricked with a lancet so that allergen can go inside the skin layers. The whole process does not cause any pain or bleeding. Then a health care provider watches the site carefully for any sign of swelling and redness results usually seen within 15to 20 minutes. To test egg allergy the above process is performed with egg allergen.
Allergy blood test-In certain condition your doctor may advise blood test to diagnose egg allergy.In blood test blood sample is collected from the cubital vein and sent to the laboratory for the testing.
Food Challenge - Graded food challenge is gold standard in diagnosing the food allergy Food challenge can be risky and should be performed by trained allergist only.
Food tracking and elimination diet - Your doctor plans food elimination and challenge diet, based on the severity of allergy symptoms and number of food you are allergic too. You need to keep a detailed diary of the consumed foods and you may ask to eliminate certain food to see the whether symptoms improves.
Allergy blood and skin tests are often used along with the food challenge and diet changes.If your doctor suspects that symptoms may be caused by something other than a food allergy, you or your child may need test to identify or rule out other possible causes.
How can you prevent egg allergy?
Know what are you eating or drinking-Read labels carefully. Be cautious when eating out.
Let your child’s caregiver know about egg allergy for example baby sitter, teacher, relative or others·
If you are breast feeding your baby avoid eggs·
Allergic people could wear badge-“I am allergic to egg”
How is egg allergy treated?
For mild symptoms for example skin rashes and itching without any systemic symptoms can be treated with antihistamines In addition, your allergist may prescribe you adrenalin injection, to be taken in the presence of fatal anaphylactic shock like symptoms potentially fatal reactions include shortness of breath, swelling of throat, and dizziness due to sudden drop in blood pressure. You need to take injection immediately as soon as symptoms start to appear.
Vaccination in egg allergic patients- Some vaccines contains egg proteins. And these vaccines pose a risk of triggering an allergic reaction in egg allergic patients.
For an Egg-Free Diet/How to read food labels-avoid foods that contain eggs or any of these ingredients:
- Albumin/ Albumen
- Egg (dried, powdered, solids, white, yolk)
- Words starting with ova
- Egg is sometimes found in the following: Baked goods, Breaded items,Drink foams (alcoholic, specialty coffee)
- Egg substitutes
- Fried rice
- Ice cream
- Meat loaf and meat balls
Keep the following in mind - Individuals with egg allergy should also avoid eggs from duck, turkey, goose, quail etc.
While the whites of an egg contain the allergenic proteins, patients with an egg allergy must avoid all eggs completely.