How Do You Treat an Egg Allergy?
There are various approaches that help to diagnose an egg allergy. The first thing you doctor is likely to do is to exclude other conditions leading to similar symptoms. For example, some types of food intolerance may trigger a reaction that seems to be an allergic one. However, the reactions associated with food intolerance don’t affect your immune system, and the symptoms are usually not as serious as those of a food allergy.
Your medical history is another important factor for the diagnosis. Your allergist will probably ask whether you (or your child) have any other allergies like hay fever, asthma or eczema, and if anyone in your family is allergic to eggs or any other food triggers.
You will also have to tell the doctor about your symptoms, including when you reacted to eggs for the first time, what the reaction was like, how severe your symptoms are, whether you develop them every time you are exposed to eggs, how long it takes for the symptoms to appear, and whether there is anything that seems to improve or worsen the symptoms.
After obtaining all the necessary information, your doctor will perform a physical exam, which may involve a skin prick test, a blood test, a food challenge or a food tracking diet.
Skin prick testing involves pricking the skin and injecting tiny amounts of egg proteins into the surface of the skin. If you are allergic, a red bump or a hive will appear on the exposed area of your skin. Such tests should be performed and monitored by an allergy specialist, in case of an emergency.
Sometimes, people are not able to tolerate skin prick tests. In this case, doctors recommend getting a blood test that checks the bloodstream on the amount of specific allergy-indicating antibodies.
In a food challenge test, you are given a small amount of an egg to see if you react to it. In there is no reaction, the doctor gives you more egg until it is clear whether you are allergic to it or not. The biggest disadvantage of this test is an increased risk of developing severe symptoms.
In addition, your allergist may recommend a food tracking diet, also known as an elimination diet. This involves cutting out eggs and other food products from your diet. If your symptoms improve, you are likely to have an egg allergy.
Is There Any Treatment for Egg Allergy Symptoms?
There is no way to prevent an allergic reaction to eggs, except to avoid eating eggs and egg-containing foods. However, if your allergy is not severe, you may still be able to eat foods containing well-cooked eggs, e.g. baked products.
Besides, if you experience mild allergy symptoms, you can try using antihistamines to reduce the symptoms after being exposed to an egg protein. However, these medications don’t prevent an allergic reaction, and they are useless against severe allergies.
People with severe egg allergies are at risk of developing an anaphylactic reaction. Therefore, experts recommend that these people carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) autoinjector with them, in case of an accidental exposure to the allergen. There are various autoinjectors available on the market, including EpiPen, Auvi-Q and others.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of anaphylaxis, you should inject a required epinephrine dose immediately, and seek for medical attention or call 911.
If your child has a severe egg allergy, make sure that his caregivers know how to use the autoinjector; or if your child is old enough, teach him to use it on his own. Worth mentioning that your autoinjector should be replaced before its expiration date.
In most cases, egg allergies can be outgrown. This is because once your digestive system matures, you get more persistent to food intolerance or food allergies. Thus, if your child is allergic to eggs, it is recommended that he gets tested regularly at an allergist’s office, to see whether the sensitivity is still present.
How to Prepare for Your Visit to a Doctor?
If you notice that eating eggs and foods that contain eggs causes some unpleasant symptoms, you may want to visit your family doctor, where you will likely be referred to an allergy specialist. .
Before arranging an appointment with an allergist-immunologist, you should ask whether you need to do something to prepare for the visit. For instance, your doctor may want you to write down all the symptoms you have, as well as all the medications, vitamins and supplements you are taking.
In addition, you should ask any questions you have about egg allergies, e.g. what symptoms they cause, how they are diagnosed, how they are treated, whether you should avoid all food containing eggs, whether you need to carry an auto-injector, or how to manage allergies together with other health conditions.