is a type of food allergy
. It is a hypersensitivity
substances from the yolk or whites of eggs
, causing an overreaction of the immune system
which may lead to severe physical symptoms for millions of people around the world.
Egg allergy appears mainly, but not exclusively, in children. It is usually treated with an exclusion diet and vigilant avoidance of foods that may be contaminated with egg. The most severe food allergy reaction is called anaphylaxis and is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention and treatment with Epinephrine. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that most children outgrow egg allergy by the age of five, but some people remain allergic for a lifetime.
Most people who are allergic to hen's eggs have antibodies
which react to one of four proteins in the egg white
. These proteins are named ovomucoid, ovalbumin, ovotransferrin, and lysozyme; ovomucoid, also called Gal d 1
, is the most common target of immune system attack. The egg yolk
contains several potential antigens: livetin, apovitillin, and vosvetin.
A person who reacts only to a protein in the egg yolk may be able to easily tolerate egg whites, and vice versa. Some people will be allergic to proteins in both the egg white and the egg yolk. Egg yolk allergies may be somewhat more common in adults. A small number of people who are allergic to eggs will develop an allergy to chicken or other poultry meats.
In a study presented at the 2007 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
(AAAAI) meeting, 50% of patients outgrew egg allergy by age 17. Of those patients who outgrew it, 45% did so by age 5. Kids who outgrew the allergy tended to have peak IgE
levels at around age one, which then decline.
The flu vaccine
is typically made using eggs to incubate
. Egg-allergic individuals may react to the vaccine. If an individual is unable to take the vaccine, vaccinating all other members of their family can help protect them from the flu
Individual batches of flu vaccine may vary in their egg content. An allergist may give an egg-allergic individual a skin test to the flu vaccine, to see if receiving the flu shot is possible. If the skin test is negative, then a small amount of the vaccine is administered. If no reaction occurs after a waiting/observation period, then the rest of the shot is given, followed by a second observation period to continue to monitor for reactions.
Cooking without eggs
In cooking, eggs are an emulsifier
—they help ingredients to mix smoothly. It is possible to buy a commercial egg replacer, which may be made from ingredients like potato starch
also works as an emulsifier. Half a cup of apple sauce can replace one egg in most recipes.
Most people find it necessary to strictly avoid any item containing eggs, including:
- Cholesterol free egg substitute (e.g. Eggbeaters)
- Dried egg solids, dried egg
- Egg, egg white, egg yolk
- Egg wash
- Fat substitutes
- Meringue, meringue powder
- Powdered eggs
- Silici albuminate
- Whole egg
Ingredients that sometimes include egg are:
- Artificial flavoring
- Natural flavoring
Famous People Allergic to Eggs
Famous people allergic to eggs include: