According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology six billion eggs are distributed nationwide every 30 days. It also happens that eggs are one of seven of the most common food allergens in children, and about 1.5 percent of children are allergic to hen’s eggs; though it is thought that at least two-thirds or more generally outgrow egg allergy by age 16.

Risks that may put you or your child for increased risk for egg or other food allergies are a family history of asthma, food allergy or other type of allergy such as eczema.

So why is this in the news? Well, a study presented at a recent ACAAI meeting in Boston described a recent two-year study seeking to evaluate the safety of giving a seasonal influenza vaccine to children with an egg allergy. Preliminary results suggest it is indeed safe for these children to receive this extremely important vaccine, especially in those kids with asthma, to avoid complications of the flu.

The study findings are consistent with other studies over the past 12 years that seem to confirm even those children with severe egg allergy may receive the vaccine safely.

“The benefits of flu shots are well-established, and clearly outweigh the risks for children with egg allergy,” said allergist Matthew Greenhawt, MD, ACAAI member and assistant professor in the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of Michigan. He further stated that “expanding the population of children that receive flu shots will play an important role in decreasing influenza-associated hospitalization, and in promoting the overall health of our children.”

With flu season just around the corner, having an egg allergy may no longer be a good reason to not get the flu vaccine, according to new guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Egg allergic individuals should still continue to receive the flu vaccine from an experienced healthcare provider that is familiar with reactions to vaccines, and a egg sensitive individual is observed for a period of at least 30 minutes after administration.

By Dr. Clifford Bassett
Published November 08, 2011
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