Published on Feb 02, 2011 with 2 comments
Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children, affecting an estimated 1.5% of the pediatric population. A diagnosis of egg allergy is based on a combination of clinical history and a positive allergy test . It is important to know that egg allergens do not cross-react with chicken allergens, and therefore chicken does not need to be avoided if one is allergic to eggs.
If you or your child is allergic to eggs, you have probably wondered which vaccines contain egg protein.
Injectable influenza vaccines are grown in chicken egg cultures and do contain measurable quantities of egg protein. The intranasal influenza vaccine, FluMist, also contains egg protein and is currently not recommended in patients with severe egg allergy.
A common misconception is that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine should be avoided in those who are egg allergic. However, doctors now know it is safe for patients with egg allergy to receive the MMR vaccine without any prior testing. This is because the measles and mumps vaccines are not grown in egg cultures, but in chick embryo fibroblast cultures which contain negligible or no egg protein.
It is important to know that, in most cases, egg-allergic patients can safely receive the injectable influenza vaccine. Allergy skin testing to egg and the flu vaccine by a board certified allergist should be performed if one is highly allergic to eggs, and especially if one has had a previous anaphylactic reaction upon ingestion of eggs. Based on these results, the vaccine may be administered by a graded-dose or split-dose protocol.
Allergists specialize in making sure the influenza vaccine may be administered safely to both children and adults with egg allergy. Receiving the flu vaccine decreases your or your child’s risk of serious illness or hospitalization due to influenza, allowing you to remain healthy and active.