“Chicken eggs are one of the most common food allergens. People with an allergy to chicken egg may also be allergic to other types of eggs such as duck, turkey, or quail.
Children with allergies to egg or egg whites will always get sick with a stomach ache, rash or swelling after eating foods containing eggs. The body reacts with proteins found in egg whites or yolks and will result in an allergic reaction that can range from worsening eczema to, comparatively rarely, anaphylaxis, a life threatening reaction that interferes with breathing and can send the body into shock.
Is an egg allergy common?
Experts estimate that as many as 10 percent of children are allergic to eggs. Having eczema is a risk factor for developing egg allergy. Fortunately, most children will outgrow their allergy by age 16. It is rare for an adult to develop an allergy to eggs.
Can you prevent an egg allergy?
Studies show early introduction to egg at around 3 to 4 months of age decreases a child’s risk of developing an allergy to egg.
What are the symptoms of an egg allergy?
Symptoms of an egg allergy are usually mild to moderate but can sometimes be severe, although this is rare.
Symptoms will start within a few minutes after eating (or even touching) eggs. These include skin reactions like swelling of lips, a rash, hives, or worsening of eczema, wheezing, difficulty breathing, runny nose, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea. More severe symptoms can result in anaphylaxis which is characterised by swelling or tightening of the throat, coughing, turning blue or pale, weak pulse and confusion.
How can you diagnose an egg allergy?
The diagnosis of an egg allergy should always be made in consultation with a certified clinical immunologist/allergist. Your doctor will often make a diagnosis based on your medical history and with the use of skin or blood allergy tests.
Approximately 70% of children with egg allergy tolerate baked egg. Heating disrupts the protein responsible for egg allergy. However, speak with your allergist before trialling baked egg products at home.
Living with an egg allergy - what foods to avoid?
Eggs are a hidden ingredient in many foods including baked goods. Anyone with an egg allergy to either egg whites or egg yolks should avoid eggs altogether as it is not possible to completely separate white from yolk.
Because egg is a major allergen, most countries require manufacturers to label packaged food products containing egg or egg products as an ingredient clearly on their nutrition label.
If you have an allergy to egg, avoid foods containing egg, albumin, mayonnaise, meringue, ovalbumin, ovomucoid, and surimi.
Products such as baked goods, breakfast foods, breads, hollandaise, marzipan, marshmallows, and salad dressings are also likely to contain egg products.
Some people can tolerate baked goods, so be sure to consult with your allergy specialist about this.
This list is not exhaustive; please be sure to always read labels.
Many recipes can be modified to avoid the need for eggs. A registered dietitian or nutritionist can help you plan your meals to ensure you get enough protein in your diet in the absence of eggs.
To discover a wide variety of egg free options, visit www.myWellabee.com
FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education)
Australian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Anagnostou A. Optimizing Patient Care in Egg Allergy Diagnosis and Treatment. J Asthma Allergy. 2021 Jun 8;14:621-628. doi: 10.2147/JAA.S283307. PMID: 34135601; PMCID: PMC8197590.