Egg allergies are one of the most common food allergies found in infants and children.  In general, reactions are not as severe as those from peanut, nut, shellfish, or fish allergies, though severe reactions can occur. Most children outgrow egg allergies before five years of age, but some people suffer for a lifetime.  The primary food allergens present in eggs are certain proteins in the egg white.  While cooking can alter the protein of a raw egg, it may not be sufficient to prevent an allergic reaction. Some mildly allergic children can eat well-cooked eggs without experiencing any symptoms.  Other children can have severe allergic reactions to even well-cooked eggs.

In general, patients with egg allergies should avoid eggs until they reach school age.  Influenza vaccines are grown on egg embryos and may contain a small amount of egg protein.  Individuals with egg allergies should be tested with the vaccine prior to vaccination.  If test results are negative, the vaccine can be administered safely.  If the test results are positive, the benefits and risks of vaccination should be assessed by your allergist.  If necessary, a split dose of vaccine may be administered cautiously for some patients.

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