“Egg-citing” News For Those with Egg Allergy!

Have you been reading the scary headlines and getting concerned about the swine flu and possible bad outcomes? Do you or your child have egg allergy, and worried you can’t get the flu vaccine for protection?

Here’s the skinny on this for those with egg allergy:

Why is there a problem with the flu vaccine and egg allergy?

People with egg allergy could have a reaction when given the flu vaccine because the vaccine may contain some amount of egg protein. After all, the vaccine is grown and created using “chick embryo”, which is fancy way of saying EGG. Fortunately, even in individuals with confirmed egg allergy, flu vaccines may be administered under certain conditions supervised by an experienced physician, such as a board-certified allergist.

Is there a test to determine egg allergy?

The diagnosis of egg allergy is made based upon both the clinical history (i.e. the details surrounding the reaction someone had after eating egg) and either a skin prick test or a blood test. Many people with egg allergy outgrow it, so it is important to be up to date with the test for egg allergy to know for sure that you or your child are still egg allergic.

Is there a way to administer the flu vaccine to a patient who is allergic to egg?

When egg allergy is suspected or confirmed, patients can be skin tested to the flu vaccine. If the test is negative, the vaccine is given, under careful observation. Sometimes a split dose is used when it is given, just to play it extra safe. If the test is positive, the severity of the reaction and the risk/benefits of administering the vaccine should be evaluated. If the flu vaccine is warranted, it can be administered in a special way, in the office of an allergy specialist, who can administer emergency treatment if necessary.