Elgin specialists discuss how allergic reactions to eggs in adults differ from children’s symptoms
Eggs are among the six most common food allergies in kids. In fact, around a reported 70 percent of pediatric allergy sufferers will outgrow their egg allergies by age 16 as their digestive systems mature. However, eggs are also a common source of allergies among adults. In fact, you may have developed an egg allergy in your 20s or 30s, or at an older age.
You can also pass an egg allergy on to your children. You may be more likely to develop an egg allergy if:
- Your parents had allergies to food or other substances, such as pollen
- You have eczema or other skin conditions
If you are allergic to eggs, you may also be allergic to other foods such as milk and soy, as well as other types of allergens like pet dander and dust mites. Asthma is also common among individuals with egg allergies, and it contributes to more severe symptoms.
Generally, symptoms vary from mild to severe:
- Skin conditions – Hives, rashes
- Nasal problems – Congestion, runny nose, sneezing
- Digestive issues – Nausea, cramps, vomiting
- Respiratory problems – Coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing
Research finds that older egg allergy sufferers may have more severe symptoms, with the biggest threat posed by anaphylaxis. This condition requires emergency treatment and is characterized by constricted airways, rapid pulse, plummeting blood pressure, and dizziness or fainting. Consumption of alcohol and NSAIDs like aspirin, as well as poorly controlled asthma and exercise can make symptoms worse.
Since symptoms can vary from mild to severe, it’s important to seek the expertise of allergists Drs. Noga Askenazi and Eugenia Hahn. They will identify the true nature of your symptoms, because food intolerance is frequently mistaken for a food allergy.
Unlike food allergies, food intolerance is not caused by your immune system erroneously perceiving a substance (such as certain proteins in eggs) as harmful. To protect your body against this perceived threat, the immune system releases the histamines and chemicals that produce your troubling and disruptive symptoms.
Since the causes of these conditions are different, approaches to managing the symptoms caused by either intolerance or allergies vary. Drs. Askenazi and Hahn will diagnose the cause of your symptoms by exposing you to very small amounts of egg protein, either through a tiny prick in your skin as part of safe, well-controlled food challenge to see if these extracts produce an allergic reaction. A blood test can check for antibodies that indicate you are allergic to eggs.
Not all allergy sufferers have to avoid all egg-containing products. You may be able to consume well-cooked eggs in baked goods, for instance. Keep in mind that there are some surprising sources of eggs, and that even those products labeled as “egg-free” may contain offending proteins. Be wary of the following products, which frequently contain eggs:
- Processed meats
- Salad dressings
- Foam on coffees, alcoholic beverages
- Ingredients such as lecithin, albumin, or those starting with “ova” or “ovo”
If it is determined that you have an egg allergy, mild symptoms may be relieved with medications such as antihistamines. An epinephrine delivery device is necessary in the event of a severe allergic reaction requiring emergency care. To find out more about allergic reactions to eggs in adults, seek proper diagnosis from your Elgin allergists, Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois. Accordingly, Drs. Askenazi and Hahn will develop a plan to relieve your symptoms. Call 847 888 8802 to schedule an appointment.