Egg Allergy – Symptoms and What to Do

Digestion | Functional medicine

Do You Have an Egg Allergy?

Egg allergies are among the most common types of food allergies in the world with cow’s milk, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, soy, and wheat accounting for the majority of food allergies in adults and children. Reactions to foods like these can range from intolerance and mild sensitivity to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Egg intolerance is a milder and non-life-threatening reaction of the body to the consumption of eggs. Egg intolerance primarily affects your gastrointestinal system, where you may experience stomach pains, cramps, and nausea.

An egg allergy affects your immune system which overreacts to the proteins found in eggs. While most people are allergic to the proteins found in egg whites, some people are allergic to the proteins found in egg yolk, and others can be allergic to both. If you have an egg allergy, your immune system recognizes egg proteins as harmful, and releases chemicals including histamine to defend your body against these mistakenly harmful proteins.

The most common symptoms of egg allergies include skin inflammation, itchy rashes, hives, and swelling around the face and throat. A severe allergic reaction to egg may lead to anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening emergency that could cause your body to go into shock with a significant drop in blood pressure, constricted airways making it difficult to breathe, and which may result in you losing consciousness.

Food allergies are common among young children, and it’s often difficult for parents to know which foods to avoid because it’s not always clear which foods and ingredients may contain the allergens that cause the body’s reaction. Some obvious ingredients that include egg products and proteins include egg whites, egg yolk, dried egg, and egg substitutes. Less obvious ingredients that may include trace elements of egg proteins include albumin, apovitellin, ovalbumin, lysozyme, lecithin, and silica albuminate.

Pre-made food products are often guilty of containing small amounts of egg, making it difficult to navigate an egg-free diet. Food labels don’t always contain the necessary health information to help parents manage the dietary requirements of their children. One way to navigate these dietary requirements is to consider adopting functional nutrition as a highly personalized dietary guide that covers all your nutritional needs, identifying which foods are good for your body, and which to avoid.

If you suspect that you or your child may have an egg allergy, you can start with treatment at home by avoiding the foods that cause allergic reactions. You can take this a step further by consulting with a health professional such as an allergist who may conduct skin prick tests or blood tests to determine which allergens cause adverse reactions. This type of allergy testing can help to diagnose common allergies that help you determine which food types to avoid and to avoid a severe allergic reaction.

Dr Matt le Roux is an Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) certified medicine practitioner who can assist you and your child with a comprehensive dietary and lifestyle plan including functional nutrition that will greatly assist you in managing your allergies. If you’d like to know more about functional nutrition, simply book an online functional medicine consultation with Dr Matt le Roux today and take a leap towards understanding and managing your body’s nutritional needs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long do egg allergy symptoms last?

Reactions to egg allergies typically occur soon after exposure to egg and symptoms like a runny nose and sneezing may last from a few minutes to a few hours. The egg allergy itself may last for several years, and the best way to avoid a reaction is to avoid eggs completely.

How does egg allergy affect the body?

Egg allergies can affect the body in many ways. The most common symptoms include skin inflammation, itchy rashes, and swelling of the face and throat. The most severe, and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction is when anaphylaxis is triggered, which can cause you to stop breathing and lose consciousness.

What causes egg allergy?

Egg allergy is triggered by your immune system overreacting to the proteins in egg whites and/or yolk. When these egg proteins enter your overly sensitized immune system, your body sees these proteins as harmful and releases histamine and other chemicals that cause the allergic reaction and symptoms.

Can egg allergy cause eczema?

Egg allergies can cause skin reactions that include rashes, inflammation, swelling, hives, and eczema, especially in children and young teenagers. The allergic reaction to egg proteins may also aggravate and worsen eczema, particularly in the case of atopic dermatitis.

Can egg allergy cause anaphylaxis?

In severe cases, an egg allergy will cause anaphylaxis which drastically impairs breathing and may result in the body going into shock and/or losing consciousness. Anaphylaxis is a serious and life-threatening condition that requires treatment with an immediate adrenaline (epinephrine) shot and urgent medical attention.

Can egg allergy go away?

Egg allergies are common among children and babies. Studies have found that most, but not all children eventually outgrow the condition by their mid-teens. Although food allergies may disappear over time, the most effective approach is to avoid eggs as much as possible if you know you have an egg allergy.

Is egg allergy genetic?

Egg allergy is among the most common types of food allergies. Although egg allergy can develop on its own, children are more likely to develop food allergies if their parents are also allergic to certain foods.

What foods contain eggs?

Many foods contain eggs, and even foods with egg-free labelling may contain traces of egg proteins.

Some of the most common foods that generally contain egg include:

  • pastas
  • ice creams and custards
  • pre-packaged desserts
  • salad dressings
  • bread and baked foods
  • fizzes, lollipops, and candies
  • meatloaf and meatballs
  • meringue and marshmallows

References:

Davis, JL: 2019. Common Food Allergy Triggers
https://www.webmd.com/allergies/food-triggers

Australian Institute of Food Safety
https://www.foodsafety.com.au/blog/top-7-foods-you-didnt-know-contain-eggs

Mayoclinic
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/egg-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20372115

WebMD
https://www.webmd.com/allergies/egg-allergy

Healthline
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-safety/egg-intolerance
https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/egg
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/common-food-allergies

American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology
https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/food/egg/

Australian Institute of Food Safety
https://www.foodsafety.com.au/blog/top-7-foods-you-didnt-know-contain-eggs

Kids Health
https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/food-allergies.html

Dr. Matt le Roux is a man of many talents: chiropractor, sports scientist and functional medicine practitioner. His science-based approach motivates him to explore the synergy between health and performance that changes the way you move, live, train, think, and eat.

Dr Matt le Roux

Chiropractor, Functional medicine practitioner

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