What is an Egg Allergy?

An egg allergy is an adverse response or overreaction of the body’s immune system to the proteins in milk or products that contain egg. When egg is consumed, the body sees the proteins from egg as a foreign invader, sending out chemicals to defend against it. Those chemicals are what cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Although it is the whites of an egg that contain the proteins that cause the allergic reactions, eggs must be avoided completely as it is impossible to separate all of the egg white from the yolk. Egg is one of the major allergens that must be legally listed on packaged foods sold in the U.K. & USA.

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👥 How common is it?

Egg allergy is one of the most common allergies, especially in children. The allergy often begins in the child’s first year of life, however, children are likely to outgrow the condition. An adult allergy to eggs is less common.

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🥚 What are eggs?

Bird’s eggs are a common food either on their own or as a cooking ingredient. The eggs most commonly eaten are laid by chickens, ducks, geese, or quail.

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Symptoms of Egg Allergy

The symptoms of an egg allergy may occur within seconds or minutes of contact with eggs. On occasions there may be a delay of more than an hour and even very small amounts of egg can cause a reaction. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include skin reactions, such as hives or a rash, swelling in the face, throat and/or mouth, respiratory problems, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting and anaphylaxis; however, this is less common.

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🚑 Anaphylaxis

Although less common, some allergy sufferers are also at risk of having a potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis reaction. In extreme cases there could be a dramatic fall in blood pressure, the person may become weak and floppy, and may have a sense of something terrible is happening. This may lead to collapse and unconsciousness. On rare occasions, death can occur.

It is important to be able to recognize and manage reactions quickly in order to prevent serious health consequences. The first line of action for anaphylaxis is the timely use of epinephrine which is available by prescription in a self-injectable device.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to food

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If you are concerned that you or your child may have an allergy, you should consult with a medical professional or a Registered Nutritionist or Dietitian. If your child is diagnosed with an allergy, it’s important to inform all people involved in the child’s care. This includes their nursery, school, and after-school clubs, as well as grandparents, relatives, and the parents of their school friends.

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Managing an Egg Allergy

🛒 Store bought food

Eggs are often hidden in many other foods such as cake, soups, canned foods, burgers, pasta, mayonnaise and salad dressing; therefore you should read food labels to avoid foods containing egg. As egg is one of the top food allergens in the USA and UK, its presence must always be declared on the product labels of any food product it’s in. This can make it easier to avoid.

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❌ Foods to avoid

The most obvious food to avoid are eggs themselves. However, it is important that you inform your health care providers about your egg allergy as some flu vaccines and the yellow fever vaccine contain egg protein in varying amounts.

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✅ What replacements can I use?

There are alternatives to eggs you can use in recipes, depending on what you’re making. These include flaxseed, chia seed, vinegar, mashed banana, yogurt and applesauce. If you are replacing eggs with one of these ingredients, please follow a recipe to ensure you are replacing with a suitable ingredient! There are also a number of packaged egg-replacement powders now available that can be used for baking.

👉 For a simple flaxseed egg replacement in baking, simply combine 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (flaxmeal) + 3 Tbsp water and set aside for 10 minutes before using.
👉 To create egg-free alternatives to foods such as meringue or royal icing, use aquafaba (water from soaked chickpeas).
👉 For egg-free versions of foods such as omelette or frittata, gram flour (chickpea flour) makes a great alternative.
👉 To add an ‘eggy’ flavour to foods such as scrambled tofu or egg-free omelette, try using kala namak (black salt).

Egg Allergy option on the Spoon Guru App

📲 Mobile Apps

The free Spoon Guru app includes an Egg filter in its list of food allergies and intolerances to help make the search for suitable products easier. It even gives you the option of including or excluding products with a ‘May contain’ warning depending on your level of sensitivity. On top of this you can also choose from a selection of other dietary preferences to add to your profile.

You can use the app to search for products and recipes that are suitable for your unique dietary needs, and scan barcodes to make sure a product is suitable for you.

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Please note: This Spoon Guru Fact Sheet should be used as a source of information only. It should not be used as a replacement to nutritional advice from an accredited medical professional.  The Spoon Guru app may differ slightly from country to country.


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