by Antony Ham
Dr. Ham-Pong is lecturer, Department
of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa; consultant, Children's Hospital
of Eastern Ontario; private practitioner.
Egg allergy usually begins in
infancy, often soon after egg is started. Children who are egg allergic
will often refuse egg when it is given to them. It usually disappears
by age five to seven years, but may sometimes be lifelong. Egg
white, especially raw or poorly cooked causes more severe allergy
than egg yolk (yellow) e.g., tasting raw batter, playing with egg
shells, or egg white icing. Mildly egg allergic children can often
eat food prepared with small amounts of egg e.g., cakes, muffins,
without an immediate reaction. However, these trace quantities may
aggravate eczema, and may cause the egg allergy to stay longer.
Therefore unless told otherwise, all eggs should be avoided, even
in traces in baked goods in the first few years of life. Egg allergic
people are not usually allergic to chicken. Eggplant is okay.
An allergic reaction to a food
usually begins within minutes but may be delayed 2 - 4 hours, and
usually lasts less than one day. The more severe the allergy,
the smaller the amount required to cause a reaction. Typical immediate
allergic reactions to foods include rash, hives or redness around
the mouth, which may spread to the rest of the body, immediate runny
nose, sneezing and itchy watery eyes, coughing, choking or gagging,
wheezing and trouble breathing, and cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
The allergic reaction can stop at any stage, or may cause anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction which involves several
parts of the body and can lead to death.
Severe egg allergy: Can
develop anaphylaxis with even small amounts: strict avoidance
of all traces of egg proteins. Keep egg out of the house. Use
immediately with any reaction to ingestion of egg to prevent anaphylaxis.
Mild to moderate egg allergy:
Small traces of egg in cooked goods can be eaten if your
allergist okays this, e.g., bread, cakes, cookies. Avoid foods
with more egg e.g., French toast, mayonnaise, pancakes etc.
It may be recommended to avoid all traces of egg to help the
allergy go away more quickly, or to reduce eczema.
When reintroducing eggs, try small
amounts baked in muffins or cakes e.g., one egg or less to a cake
or dozen muffins. Then slowly increase the amount of eggs. Then if
there is no reaction, try 1/4 teaspoon hard boiled egg yolk, then
larger amounts. Then try hard boiled egg white slowly. Finally, try
less well cooked egg white e.g., omelet, mayonnaise.
WHAT CONTAINS EGG?
egg yolk / egg white
an intravenous sedative/anaesthetic, has egg lecithin.
WHAT MAY CONTAIN EGG?
EGG SUBSTITUTES IN COOKING.
- Cake icing, egg substitutes,
egg shampoo, fancy ice creams e.g., french vanilla.
- Seasonings and natural
flavours may contain egg proteins which are not labelled as
- Binders and fillers, batters
e.g. for processed meats, poultry, surimi.
- Bread, cakes, desserts, baked
goods with glazes, fancy coffee, ice cream & yogurt.
- In Europe, tablets, lozenges,
eyedrops, nose drops, and non-Canadian cheese may have egg lysozyme.
- Yellow baked goods; shiny
glaze on baked goods; white chocolate
- Egg white may also be used
in fancy coffee to make the foam; and occasionally to clarify
soup stock used for some jellied soups, consommé, broths
and homemade wines and homemade root beer; lecithin is usually
from soy, but occasionally may be from egg.
Egg-free Egg Replacer (check in
grocery/health food stores).
Substitutes for one egg: Use either
of these 3:
- 2 tbsp flour + 1/2 tbsp shortening
+ 1/2 tsp baking powder + 2 tbsp liquid or
- 1/2 - 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp yeast + 1/4 cup
Examples of foods to be cautious
about (i.e., may contain egg)
malted beverages, root beer, Orange Juliusã
eggs or crust glazed with eggs, pancakes, waffles, doughnuts,
muffins, soda crackers, pretzels
cookies, cream-filled pies, meringues, custard, ice cream, sherbet
meats, meatballs, meat loaf, some sausages
noodles, vermicelli, macaroni, spaghetti
sauce made with eggs, e.g., hollandaise, tartar sauce, marshmallow
consommé, bouillon if egg added
candies with cream fillings, marshmallow candy, divinity, fudge,
mixes, fritter batter, batter-fried foods, soufflé, puddings,
dessert powders, egg powders or commercial egg substitutes,
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of Use: The information
on this site does not constitute medical advice and is for your
general information only. We cannot be held responsible for anything
you could possibly do or say because of information on this site.
Consult your family physician or allergist for specific questions