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Allergy to eggs

Eggs are among the most common causes of allergy to certain foods in children.

Symptoms usually appear a few minutes to a few hours after eating eggs or foods containing eggs.

Signs and symptoms vary and most commonly include skin rashes, hives, nasal inflammation, vomiting or other digestive problems.

In rare cases, egg allergy can cause anaphylaxis – a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.

This type of food allergy can appear even in early childhood.

Most children outgrow it before puberty. But in some cases it continues into adulthood.

What are the symptoms?

• Skin inflammation or hives – the most characteristic reaction to an egg allergy;

• Allergic inflammation of the nose – allergic rhinitis;

• Digestive /gastrointestinal symptoms/ such as cramps, nausea and vomiting;

• Asthmatic signs and symptoms such as cough, chest tightness or shortness of breath;

Anaphylaxis

A very severe allergic reaction can lead to anaphylaxis, an urgent life-threatening condition that requires immediate high-dose epinephrine (a synthetic form of adrenaline) and immediate medical attention for emergency medical assistance.

The clinical manifestations of aphylaxis are:

• Narrowing of the airways, resulting in swelling or the appearance of a lump in the throat, which causes difficulty in breathing;

• Abdominal pains and cramps;

Rapid pulse;

• Shock, a severe drop in blood pressure that feels like dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness;

If you or your child develop an allergic reaction to eggs, discuss it with a doctor no matter how mild it was, as the severity of allergic reactions to eggs can change each time it occurs.

This means that if you or your child have had a mild allergic reaction in the past, the next one could be much more serious.

What are the causes?

All food allergies are caused by an overreaction of the immune system that mistakenly identifies certain egg whites as harmful.

When you or your child comes into contact with egg whites, immune system cells /antibodies/ recognize them and signal the immune system to start releasing histamine and other chemicals that trigger an allergic reaction and of symptoms.

Both the yolk and white of the egg contain proteins that can cause allergies, but the immune system’s reaction to the egg white is the most common. It is possible for infants to develop an allergic reaction to egg proteins in breast milk if the mother consumes eggs.

Egg Allergy Treatment

There is no medication or other specific therapy that can cure this type of allergy or prevent an allergic reaction in an egg allergic person.

The only way to prevent symptoms is to avoid consumption of eggs and egg products.

This can be difficult as eggs are found in most foods. However, you may find that you or your child do not react to eggs when they are included in foods, such as in a baked product.

The best thing you can do is stop all consumption of eggs or egg products, but if you are still tempted you can use antihistamines which will suppress the allergic reaction to some extent , but they will not prevent it and are not effective in anaphylaxis.

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