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Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Tests For Egg Allergy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Egg allergies are most common in young children. As the children grow up, they may stop experiencing allergic reactions to egg proteins. The symptoms of egg allergies usually occur a few minutes after you have consumed eggs. Most people experience mild allergic symptoms, but in rare cases, the condition could lead to anaphylaxis. As mentioned earlier, while egg allergy is usually seen in young children, egg allergy symptoms in toddlers may also be noticed. A majority of the children outgrow the allergy, but in some cases, the allergies continue into adulthood. The problem with an egg allergy is that any food product containing eggs can trigger it off. For instance, processed foods that contain eggs as binding agents could also trigger off an egg allergy. If the egg proteins are present in any specific food items, it could cause egg allergies. To prevent this allergy, you would have to be extremely careful about what you eat. It is important that you read the nutritional labels of all food items before consuming them to avoid having an allergic reaction.

Tests Recommended

Since the symptoms of food allergy are very apparent, the doctors are able to identify the allergic reaction. However, it is difficult for doctors to identify which food substances are causing the allergy. An allergist or an allergy specialist will be able to administer certain tests to check for possible allergies. You have to undergo several medical tests before the allergy is actually identified. The allergist will first perform a physical examination before performing any egg allergy tests. The doctor will also ask you several questions about your allergy symptoms to get a more accurate background of your condition.

After these initial tests are done, a skin test may be performed. The doctor will get you to do a prick test. This test involves exposing your pricked skin to several different foods. After the skin is exposed to these foods and the proteins in them, the doctor looks for any allergic reactions such as inflammation, rashes, and formation of hives on the skin. The doctor may also look for other allergic reactions such as respiratory or digestive discomfort. To prepare for this test, you have to stop taking certain medications. Cold medications as well as antidepressants may also have to be discontinued for a few days before your test. Blood tests may also be performed to look for any specific antibodies that may indicate an allergic reaction in the body.

Causes

Like all other food allergies, egg allergy causes are also related to enzymes and proteins present in a specific type of food. These proteins and enzymes trigger a reaction in the immune system. Ordinarily, the immune system would not act in a hostile manner towards foods that contain these proteins. However, if the immune system overreacts, it may begin to misfire and produce histamines. It is these histamines that cause rashes all over the body. Both egg yolks as well as whites contain these proteins that may cause allergies. However, egg whites are more commonly associated with egg allergies. Research has shown that breastfed infants are more prone to developing egg allergies during their childhood. If the mother consumes eggs, the egg proteins may enter into the mother’s milk and cause allergies in the baby.

Symptoms

Egg allergy symptoms can differ from one person to another. Usually, the symptoms occur very soon after the consumption of eggs. The first symptom is usually the formation of a rash, inflammation of skin, and hives. There may be inflammation in the nasal lining, causing allergic rhinitis. Some people may experience digestive discomfort such as nausea, cramps, bloating, and gas. There may also be slight respiratory discomfort such as tightening of the chest, labored breathing, and coughing. You may also have a swollen throat and a lump in your neck. This may make it even more difficult for you to breathe. With the rapid breathing, the pulse rate also increases, and you may experience a severe drop in your blood pressure causing dizziness and eventual loss of consciousness. In a rare case, some people may experience severe symptoms such as anaphylaxis, which is a life threatening condition. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention, and you may have to be admitted into the emergency room. Egg allergy symptoms in adults are the same as those in children.

Treatment

Egg allergy treatment is rather simple. You have to avoid consuming any eggs or foods that may contain them. To avoid getting an allergic reaction, you may have to read the nutritional labels in the back of processed foods. You will also have to avoid consuming cakes, cookies, and other foods that have eggs in them as binding agents. You would also have to carry anti-allergy medications with you just in case you consume eggs without knowing it. If you are prone to developing severe reactions to eggs, you can carry epinephrine shots with you. These should be administered immediately on consumption of eggs or products containing eggs. In case you do not have medications or epinephrine shots, go to the emergency room immediately.

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