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Some allergies are more common than others.  One of the most common to learn about is an egg allergy.  This is typically heard about with children, though it can persist into adulthood, and it can even be an adult on-set allergy (these cases are becoming more and more common as time goes on).  If you find yourself needing to learn about egg allergies from start to finish as they pertain to your life, here is what you’ll want to know.

Firstly, studies have shown that an egg allergy can impact 1% to 2% of children [1].  This makes it one of the most popular food allergies for children.  Quite a few children outgrow egg allergies by the time they read 18 years of age.  However, research has shown that those who have higher levels of IgE will not outgrow the allergy [1].  In this case, the allergy is severe enough that it will be one that will follow them throughout life.  As you’ll read about later, there is hope for proper desensitization to eggs to help reduce the likelihood of an allergy follows children throughout life.

 

Symptoms of an egg allergy

Just like any other kind of allergy, symptoms of an egg allergy can come in quite a few forms.  When studied over time, eating egg created reactions such as rashes or hives, discomfort in the stomach and digestive tract, difficulty breathing, rasping or coughing, and swelling of the skin [2].

Those are pretty broad, proving that parents and children alike must be on the lookout for any strange feelings or symptoms immediately after eating egg products.  The other thing with allergies is that they can quickly worsen from one reaction to another.  What causes mild itchiness one time could blow into a full painful rash the next.  Or, coughing and raspiness could become respiratory distress as the airways swell.  It’s very important that you get an allergy tested as soon as you have a suspicious, and then adapt your diet to accommodate it to prevent any allergic reactions  

 

Egg allergies and diet

The diet that you eat is thought to have a connection with any potential allergies coming to fruition.  Studies have shown that — in the case of an egg allergy — parents who introduce egg products later into their infant’s diet could be putting them at risk of developing an egg allergy [3].  This is especially so if one or both parents have a food allergy, as genetics are thought to be connected to the likelihood of allergies in children.

Once an allergy has been determined and confirmed, studies and research have shown that, in some cases, eating a baked egg diet can actually help children work up a tolerance to egg, which could help clear up an egg allergy as they age [4].  For this to work, it would be important for children to eat fully baked portions of egg regularly throughout their childhood, and then continue it through life as well.

 

How to get tested for an egg allergy

If you suspect that you may have an egg allergy, you should get an allergy test as soon as possible.  Thanks to the development of medicine, you have a few options open to you, which make it a little confusing at first.  The options to choose from include:

  • Skin prick test: This is the classic model of using a grid of needles to deposit a small amount of the allergens under your skin.  If a welt or hive pops up, it’s a sign that you are dealing with an allergy to that particular allergen.  There are many studies to show that this is not the most effective way to test for food allergies in particular due to false negatives.
  • Blood sample test: A more advanced kind of test is to submit a blood sample to a lab via finger prick withdrawal, and have the sample tested out of the body in a lab against a wide variety of allergens.  The results are then sent to you.  This is the method that we use here at  Allergy Test Ireland and it is thought to have the highest success level on its own for food allergies.
  • Oral test: This test is done in a medical setting and the person will eat varying amounts of their suspected allergen while connected to medical equipment.  This equipment will track their reactions and from there a diagnosis can be determined.  This has high levels of success with food allergies, though it can be frightening, especially if you are prone to reactions with respiratory distress.  
  • Combination method: This uses a combination of 1-3 testing methods and it simply confirms the results from more than one source to help confirm an allergen.  This is especially important for those who are fearful of false positives or negatives.

Living with egg allergies could be a short-term or long-term problem.  Research in working with egg allergies looks promising, and with proper allergy testing a priority, you can enjoy a relatively normal life in all of the ways that matter.

 

References

[1] Savage, J.H., Matsui, E.C., Skripak, J.M. and Wood, R.A., 2007. The natural history of egg allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 120(6), pp.1413-1417. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674907018349 

[2] Ford, R.P. and Taylor, B.R.E.N.T., 1982. Natural history of egg hypersensitivity. Archives of disease in childhood, 57(9), pp.649-652. Available at: https://adc.bmj.com/content/57/9/649.abstract 

[3] Koplin, J.J., Osborne, N.J., Wake, M., Martin, P.E., Gurrin, L.C., Robinson, M.N., Tey, D., Slaa, M., Thiele, L., Miles, L. and Anderson, D., 2010. Can early introduction of egg prevent egg allergy in infants? A population-based study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 126(4), pp.807-813. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674910011735 

[4] Leonard, S.A., Sampson, H.A., Sicherer, S.H., Noone, S., Moshier, E.L., Godbold, J. and Nowak-Węgrzyn, A., 2012. Dietary baked egg accelerates resolution of egg allergy in children. Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 130(2), pp.473-480. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674912009530