Egg Allergy

by Antony Ham Pong, MBBS
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 EpiPenâ 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 
  • ovomucoid
  • powdered egg
  • egg beaters
  • egg shells
  • livetin
  • egg lysozyme
  • egg albumin
  • ovalbumin
  • eggnog
  • egg lecithin
  • ovovittelin, ovamcin
  • Diprivan (propofol), an intravenous sedative/anaesthetic, has egg lecithin. 

 

WHAT MAY CONTAIN EGG?

  • 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 egg.
  • 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 SUBSTITUTES IN COOKING.

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 or
  • 1 tsp yeast + 1/4 cup warm water.

Examples of foods to be cautious about (i.e., may contain egg)

Beverages eggnog, malted beverages, root beer, Orange Juliusã drink
Breads and rolls with eggs or crust glazed with eggs, pancakes, waffles, doughnuts, muffins, soda crackers, pretzels 
Desserts cakes, cookies, cream-filled pies, meringues, custard, ice cream, sherbet 
Breaded foods breaded meats, meatballs, meat loaf, some sausages
Noodles egg noodles, vermicelli, macaroni, spaghetti
Salad dressings Caesar salad, mayonnaise 
Sauces cream sauce made with eggs, e.g., hollandaise, tartar sauce, marshmallow sauce
Soups broth, consommé, bouillon if egg added 
Sweets chocolate candies with cream fillings, marshmallow candy, divinity, fudge, cake icings 
Miscellaneous baking mixes, fritter batter, batter-fried foods, soufflé, puddings, dessert powders, egg powders or commercial egg substitutes, pet foods

Used by permission of the author.


Terms 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 or concerns.

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