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Overcoming Egg Allergies

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I still wonder whether I really had egg allergy when I was a kid. My mother told me I was allergic to egg whites, so at Easter I ate the yolks from the Easter eggs and gave the whites to my little sister. We had a great arrangement, since she didn't like yolks. I remember getting big red rashes on the insides of my elbows occasionally, but I don't remember any correlation with egg consumption. People asked questions about my aversion to egg whites. Had I ever been tested? No. Could I eat baked goods with eggs? Yes. How did I know I was allergic to only the whites? No answer.

Today I see in the medical literature that children commonly develop food allergies and then outgrow them. The most common allergens in young children are:
1. Eggs
2. Milk
3. Peanuts
4. Shellfish
5. Tree nuts
6. Soy
7. Wheat

Most children with egg allergies outgrow the condition by the age of six. School age children who still have adverse reactions to eggs may keep them for many years if they are not treated.

The most obvious way to treat allergies of any kind is to stay away from the offending substance. But in the case of food allergies, this can be burdensome. Eggs and milk are used in many food products. Researchers have focused on tolerance induction as another option. Hay fever sufferers are familiar with allergy shots, in which tiny but increasing doses of the allergen are injected under the skin. Oral tolerance induction is a less invasive procedure under development. Studies on curing food allergies have produced mixed results.

A Japanese team recently reported an accelerated approach. The research subjects were six school-age children (seven to twelve years old) with severe egg allergies confirmed by double blind, placebo controlled food challenge. The children received either placebo or powdered egg white starting at a very low dose, and increasing until objective symptoms were observed. The threshold for symptoms ranged from 0.012 to 0.360 grams. The researchers report that one gram of powdered egg is equivalent to eight gram of real raw egg white.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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