Egg Allergies

An average of two percent of the population under age five develops an egg allergy. However, most children outgrow their egg allergy by late childhood.

Despite the allergenicity of foods such as eggs, experts do not encourage avoiding these foods when introducing solids to infants.  According to the 2016 National Academies of Science, Engineering, & Medicine food allergy report, there may be “benefits of introducing allergenic foods in the first year of life to infants when a child is developmentally ready: around 6 months of age, and not before 4 months.  This is based on studies showing a possible decrease in the development of food allergies when food allergens are introduced at 4 to 6 months of age.  This advice is consistent with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Additional information on all food allergies and their symptoms is available at FARE-Food Allergy Research & Education and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Eggs for infants and toddlers

Baby-Led Weaning: A Fresh Approach to Starting Solids

Baby Led Weening (1)

Featured article in the Fall 2018 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Diana K. Rice, RD, LD

What infants eat in their first few months of life is critical. Around six months old, breast milk and formula are no longer sufficient to meet an infant’s increasing nutritional needs. In particular, the nutrients needed for cognitive development including iron, zinc, choline and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) must start to come from solid foods.We also now know that early exposure to common allergens including eggs and peanuts can actually help decrease the development of problematic food allergies.2 Continue reading “Baby-Led Weaning: A Fresh Approach to Starting Solids”

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Issues Report on Food Allergies

food allergies report

By: Sharon M. Donovan, PhD, RD, Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition University of Illinois, Urbana

Food allergy has become an increasingly recognized global health concern. Defined as an adverse health effect arising from a specific immune response that occurs reproducibly on exposure to a given food (1), the disease impacts health and quality of life for sufferers and their caregivers (2). A new Report entitled “Finding a Path to Safety in Food Allergy:  Assessment of the Global Burden, Causes, Prevention, Management, and Public Policy” was recently released by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (available at www.nationalacademies.org/FoodAllergies). The report evaluated the scientific evidence on the prevalence, origins, diagnosis, prevention, and management of food allergy and makes recommendations to bring about a safe environment for those with food allergy.

Continue reading “National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Issues Report on Food Allergies”

Emerging Research: Egg Introduction to Your Baby

Baby eating

For years, health organizations and pediatricians recommended not giving infants (especially those at high-risk) food allergens – like eggs, peanuts, dairy or fish – as an introductory food, and at the same time, pediatricians were noticing an increase in the prevalence of food allergies in U.S. children. Now, current research has challenged that paradigm. Introducing allergen foods as early as 4 months, when the child is developmentally ready, may actually decrease risk of developing food allergies.

Continue reading “Emerging Research: Egg Introduction to Your Baby”

Changes in food allergy recommendations: a spotlight on egg allergens

Allergy

Featured article in the Fall 2016 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Apeksha Gulvady, PhD

Our present decade presents a very different food allergy landscape than it did about 35 years ago in terms of prevalence, types and severity of food-allergic reactions, diagnostic tools, and even recommendations for prevention. Take prevalence in the United States for instance. Although the rates of perceived prevalence have remained at around 20% through the ages, the actual incidence has gradually risen from <1% in the 1980s up to about 5% of the general population and 8% of U.S. children in recent years.1-4 And while the number of individuals affected by food allergies continues to grow across the globe, particularly in developing countries, the United States alone accounts for as many as 15 million people with food allergies today.1

Continue reading “Changes in food allergy recommendations: a spotlight on egg allergens”

Flu Vaccine and Egg Allergy

Chris-BarryToday’s post comes from Chris Barry, PA-C, MMSc. Barry is a nationally certified physician assistant specializing in pediatrics. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Physician Assistants, North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants and currently serves as the Medical Liaison from the American Academy of Physician Assistants to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Barry currently serves as one of ENC’s Health Professional Advisors.

 

It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost that time of year again—flu season. Flu season typically runs from late fall through late winter, but the exact timing can vary from year to year. The safest, most effective method to prevent influenza infection is vaccination. The flu vaccine is recommended for all children, starting at 6 months of age.

There are relatively few contraindications to administering the flu vaccine. The full list of flu vaccine recommendations, dosing and contraindications is listed on the CDC website.

Because most flu vaccines contain residual egg proteins from the manufacturing process, people with egg allergies were previously unable to receive the flu vaccine due to the theoretical concerns of anaphylaxis. This caused many children to not receive this important vaccine.

A 2013 study published in Annals of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology shows that the flu vaccine can be safely given to children with egg allergies, even those who have severe reactions to eggs (1). Updated guidelines have been issued, stating that children with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive the influenza vaccine. Inactivated or recombinant flu vaccine is recommended for these children, due to lack of data with the live, attenuated nasal flu vaccine. Flu vaccines should be administered in settings, such as their healthcare provider’s office, in which personnel and equipment are available to manage anaphylaxis. Vaccine recipients should be observed for at least 30 minutes for signs of a reaction after administration of each vaccine dose. By one estimate, an additional 150,000-250,000 children would now be eligible to receive the flu vaccine, under the updated guidelines (2).

Children with more severe reactions to eggs, such as anaphylaxis, should be referred to an allergy specialist before vaccine administration. Children with a previous history of severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine should not receive the flu vaccine.

In summary, a recent study provides strong evidence that egg allergic patients can safely receive the flu vaccine as a single dose without prior vaccine skin testing, provided they are observed for 30 minutes afterward in a medical setting (1).

– Chris Barry, PA-C, MMSc

References:
1. Kelso JM, Greenhawt MJ, Li JT. Update on influenza vaccination of egg allergic patients. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2013; 111(4):301.
2. Des Roches A, Paradis L, Gagnon R et al. Egg-allergic patients can be safely vaccinated against influenza. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012; 130(5):1213-1216.