Egg allergy is one of the most common allergies in childhood, affecting 2-5% of infants and children, especially in the first 3 years of life. Egg allergy mostly causes immediate type reactions.
Reactions are mostly due to the proteins in the egg white. If your child is found to be egg-allergic, you will be given advice on egg avoidance, and possibly referred to a dietician.
Egg allergy is outgrown in about 50% of children by 5 years of age, and in 80% by the teenager years. In view of the good chance of outgrowing the egg allergy, an annual review by your allergist is advised to discuss any accidental reactions and to repeat allergy tests.
In children with egg allergy 70-80% can tolerate egg as a minor ingredient in the well baked form. Some examples include biscuits, cupcakes and muffins. The reason for this tolerance is that the egg is broken down by heat and might not be recognized as “egg”particles by the child’s body. Your allergist should enquire about the child’s consumption of egg in the baked form. If you are not sure if your child has eaten egg in the baked form, then a formal oral food challenge to a form of baked egg is advised.
Being able to eat baked egg broadens the diet and may well help to speed up the “outgrowing” process, so it is important to know about this. However, “egg-dominant” baked goods such as meringue, macaroons or quiche are generally not advised in egg-allergic children.
Another aspect to explore if your child is egg allergic is whether or not your child has a co-existing peanut allergy. Peanut allergy is far more common in egg-allergic children, so if your child has not yet consumed peanut but has shown signs of an egg allergy, then your allergist should test for peanut allergy as well.
For further information on egg allergy, discuss with your allergist, dietician, and visit the allergy foundation on www.allergyfoundation.co.za