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Egg Allergy FAQ
Egg allergy is one of the commonest food allergy in adults and over 12 months year old children. The main issue is the ample egg use in food industry: egg can be found in such odd places as red wine and cold meat.
Which is more frequent: yolk or the egg white allergy?
Although both situations can be found, it is commonest to suffer egg white allergy due to its higher protein content.
The most frequent proteins causing egg allergy are ovoalbumina and ovomucoid.
Because it is almost imposible to separate the yolk from the egg white, it is generally recommended to avoid both.
Symptoms in Egg allergy
Egg allergy can produce differente symptoms throuhght the body:
- Skin: urticaria (itching and hives) and swelling (angioedema), the most frequent symptoms. Atopic Dermatitis (eczema) may also be found.
- Digestive System: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, colic pain.
- Breathing: rhinitis (watery discharge, sneezing), conjunctivitis (itchy and red eyes) or asthma (coughing, wheezing or breath shortness).
- Severe reactions: anaphylaxis.
When to suspect egg allergy
The baby has have had get egg contact prior to the symptoms, although this is not always easy to recall. He/she may have had egg contained in other food or via breast feeding.
Inmmediate symptoms are the most frequent (minutes or generally less than one hour after touching or eating food). It also may take a few hours for the symptoms to appear, making it more difficult to associate them with the egg intake. It may be the case of diarrhea of unknown origen or atopic dermatitis (skin eczemas).
Testing to detect egg allergy
The first step is the medical history to be taken by the allergist where all the symptoms will be recalled, as well as the construction of temporality.
Skin tests with the egg and its proteins are the next step. Blood tests to determine antibody levels are of interest.
The final procedure is the exposition tests, to be done in an hospital setting.
Can I eat quail or goose eggs? And chicken meat?
Chicken egg alleric patients should avoid poultry (quail, turkey, goose, etc) eggs, because they may suffer a cross-reaction (symptoms due to their similarity).
There is usually no problem eating chicken meat in these patients.
Feather eiderdown and egg allergy
Some patients may suffer the bird-egg syndrome: they are allergic to livetin, a protein present in the yolk. These patients may notice symptoms when in direct contact with birds feathers or breathing particles coming from them.
Lecithin and Egg allergy
Leithins are fatty substances needed in human cell membranes (outer layer of the cells). They are also very important to food industry due to ther emulsifier characteristics. They help to blend two substances that could not be mixed spontaneously as water and oil. They are used in desserts, chocolate, ice-cream, cheese, etc.
Lecithins can also be found in the egg yolk and in vegetal seeds (soy, sunflowers, peanuts or sesame seeds) and in cereals.
Egg allergic patients should avoid egg lecithin, although they can eat soy or other seed lecithins (if they do not suffer allergy to these seeds).
Updated: november 10th, 2013