Egg allergy is one of the most common cause of food allergies in children. For many children, egg exposure may only cause swelling, throat swelling,
difficulties breathing, and even death.
Overall, egg white is more allergenic than egg yolk – but egg allergic patients usually are sensitive to both parts of the egg. Some egg allergic individuals are
able to tolerate very small amounts of eggs in baked goods, while others will react to trace amounts of eggs. Egg proteins have been detected in breast milk.
Approximately 80-85% of children will lose their egg sensitivity - but it can take many years. Overall, it appears that the majority of people with cow's milk
allergy will outgrow their food allergy, but it can take many years. According to a study published in 2007 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical
Immunology, egg allergy resolved in 11% of children at age 4, in 41% by 8 years of age, in 65% by age 12, and in 82% by 16 years of age. It is thus
important to re-appraise food allergies periodically with a board certified allergist to safely determine if the allergy has gone away.
Currently, the only effective treatment for egg allergies is avoidance. Research is ongoing to determine whether allergy shots or allergy drops (sublingual
immunotherapy) may be of benefit.
Avoid foods that contain:
- Egg (dried, powdered, solid, white,yolk)
These foods may contain eggs
- Egg substitutes
- Orange Julius drinks (may contain flavor enhancer which contain milk and egg)
- Pastries and other baked goods–egg is often used to give a shiny glaze (avoid all shiny baked goods)
- Salad dressing
Egg allergic individuals should avoid the flu vaccine and yellow fever vaccine.
Be careful! Some egg substitutes actually contain eggs. For example, Egg Beater is made from egg whites. Make sure you read the food label careful
before using a product. One totally egg free substitute that works well is called Ener-G egg replacer which can be purchased directly from ener-g.com or at
your local health store.
You can make your own egg substitute:
- Mix the following ingredients in a bowl, then whisk well before adding to recipe
- ½ teaspoon of potato starch
- ½ teaspoon of cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon of tapioca flour
- 6 teaspoons of water OR 5 teaspoons of water + 1 teaspoon of oil
Egg alternatives: each of the following alternatives is equal to 1 egg:
- 1 tablespoon of apricot puree
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce or other fruit puree + 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of yeast dissolved in 1/4th cup of warm water
- 1 banana (try this with cake recipes)
- 2 tablespoons of water + 1 tablespoon of cornstarch + 1 tablespoon of soy milk powder
- 2 tablespoons of water + 1 packet of unflavored gelatin, use immediately after mixed
The alternatives above work well for recipes requiring 2 eggs or less, but may not work well for recipes that require more than 2 eggs (such as quiche). In
these instances, you can try replacing each egg with 4 tablespoons of pureed silken tofu and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
Make sure to check out the coping with food allergies page for school and traveling tips, and useful links including sites that sell allergy safe foods, medic
alert bracelets. There's even a link to a website that will translate food allergy words in just about any language you can imagine!
Savage JH et al. The natural history of egg allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;120:1413-7.
Updated 6 Jan 2009
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Egg Allergy basics