Can People with Egg Allergy Safely Get Flu Shots?

Can People with Egg Allergy Safely Get Flu Shots?
by Jennifer Elliot | February 20, 2013

Egg allergies are a fairly common food allergy. An egg allergy deters your body from timely reaction to proteins present in eggs. Whereas these proteins are absolutely harmless, even healthy, the immune system sees them as potentially threatening and repels them instead. Every time an individual allergic to eggs ingests these proteins, the body releases an antibody with the name of Immunoglobulin E which begins to “fight” these proteins. Consequently, a large waging army of chemicals makes an attack on these proteins, releasing what is known as histamine – a compound responsible largely for the allergic symptoms. 

Prevalence of Egg Allergies

Food allergies are relatively more prevalent in children than adults, and egg allergies are no exceptions to this rule. The commonality associated with egg allergy depends on the age factor and history of allergic diseases of the patient. A research survey suggests that as high as 1.6 percent of all children have egg allergies. 

Alternatively, research findings indicate that approximately 70 percent of children overcome these allergies by the age of 16. 

Statistics illustrate a rising trend in children’s hospitalization as a result of the flu. Currently, the annual figure stands at 21000 children, all younger than the age of 5 years. The figures further go on to suggest that around 2 percent of all hospitalized children do not receive flu vaccines because of the fear of egg allergies. 

Flu Shots and Egg Allergies

You should be aware that some flu vaccines contain egg allergen since they are grown in chicken eggs. This is a matter of concern for all those allergic to egg. It is thus, children refrain from taking flu shots. However, recent research demonstrates that it is absolutely safe for individuals with egg allergies to get flu vaccines. 

Research findings published in the December edition of Annals of Allergy Asthma and Immunology concluded that the amount of egg protein in flu vaccines is so low that it cannot and will not cause an allergic reaction to individuals with egg allergies after vaccination.

Precautions

While research recommends individuals with egg allergies to take flu shots, it’s always better to be cautious.When you go to get a flu shot, it is imperative that you let your doctor know about your allergy. Once the doctor identifies your egg allergy, he or she can take adequate precautionary measures to ensure that flu vaccination is administered to you safely. Doctors may sometimes give you the flu shot and keep you under clinical observation for about half an hour or so to see if any allergy symptoms surface. In the case that they do, you can immediately seek medical attention. 

If you are considerably worried about your egg allergies and are afraid of taking flu shots, simply ask your doctors to administer only 10 percent of the flu shot to you at first and wait for a reaction. If you don’t experience an allergic reaction, your doctor can go ahead with the remaining 90 percent. In case you get an allergic reaction, you can take medications available to alleviate any such symptoms and prevent the allergy from getting worse. 

About the Author - Jennifer Elliot

Jennifer Elliot takes her Nutrition (and yours) very seriously! She believes that the strongest weapon we have against all diseases, ailments and conditions is Nutrition. She also widely promotes the importance of exercise to maintain optimal health. Keep an eye out for Jennifer’s articles to remain updated on how to lead a nutritious life!

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