Egg allergy is considered as the most common type of food allergy that affects children. Egg allergies occur once the immune system erroneously identifies proteins present in eggs as harmful invaders, thus initiating an attack. As a result the immune system releases chemicals such as histamine as a response to the egg protein. The release of histamine in the body triggers an allergic response.
Who is prone to egg allergy?
Even though any individual can develop egg allergy, some babies and young children has a higher risk of developing the allergy under these circumstances.
- Genetics has a role since if one or both parents have the food allergy, the child is at higher risk for developing the allergy as well.
- Skin conditions such as eczema are more likely to develop allergies to food such as eggs.
- The age is also considered as a factor since it commonly affects children.
Individuals with egg allergy are usually allergic to the proteins present in egg whites. On the other hand, proteins that can cause an allergy are also present in the egg yolks. Individuals who have either egg white or egg yolk allergy are advised to avoid eggs entirely since it is difficult to separate egg whites and egg yolks.
What are the minor symptoms of egg allergy?
The symptoms of an allergic reaction vary from one individual to another and can range from mild to severe. The symptoms can manifest in just a matter of minutes after eating eggs. The red, swollen patches typically appear on the face and around the mouth.
The symptoms of a mild allergic reaction include asthma-like symptoms such as chest tightness or coughing, nasal congestion and gastrointestinal issues such as cramps, nausea and oftentimes vomiting.
What happens during a severe reaction?
Even though rare, a life-threatening allergic reaction to eggs known as anaphylaxis can occur. Take note that anaphylaxis can affect multiple body systems at the same time, leading to the following symptoms.
- Constriction of the throat that leads to breathing difficulty
- Drastic drop in the blood pressure
- Swelling of the lips and tongue
- Loss of consciousness
Anaphylaxis should be treated right away using an injected dose of epinephrine in order to counteract the allergic reaction. Those who are prone to severe allergic reactions usually bring along an EpiPen. This works by quickly increasing the blood pressure, stimulate the heart, improving the breathing and minimizing the swelling. If you want to learn how to use an EpiPen during severe allergies, click here.
Unlikely sources of eggs
Egg protein is present in different types of food and drinks. Aside from baked products, eggs are also present in the following:
- Salad dressing
- Frosting in cakes
Treatment for allergic reactions to egg
If a child is diagnosed with egg allergy, an allergic reaction is treated in the same way just like with allergies to other foods. For the mild symptoms, medications such as antihistamine are given to minimize the discomfort caused by the symptoms. When treating anaphylaxis, an instant does of epinephrine must be given to counteract the life-threatening reactions.