So you think your child might have an egg allergy? What do you do?
Michelle Berriedale-Johnson suggests how you go about managing your child's egg allergy. An article and a video.
If your child gets any of the following symptoms after eating eggs, especially egg white (which is more allergenic than egg yolk) then you should certainly have them tested for egg allergy:
Symptoms of egg allergy:
Your doctor or allergist will give your child skin prick or blood tests which will confirm the allergy.
If your child is indeed allergic to eggs, do not get too depressed as the majority of children do grow out of an egg allergy. To encourage you—while approximately 2% of all young children are thought to have an egg allergy only 0.1% of adults do—so something must change!
OK – so you have your diagnosis – what do you need to do?
Well the management of egg allergy is very simple—avoid eggs rigorously—and that means both cooked and raw eggs although, as your child gets older, they may well be able to tolerate cooked eggs in cakes or biscuits, for example.
Anaphylactic reactions to eggs are rare but you do need to know what to do just in case it should ever happen.
Eggs in the home and outside
You need to go through your kitchen and your house and get rid of any eggs and any products that include or use eggs.
Depending on the size, age and shape of your family you may decide that some members of the family should continue to eat eggs but, it is very much safer and easier not to have them in the house at all.
Shopping in the UK and Europe is now much easier too as any egg in any packaged food will have not only to have ‘egg’ listed in the ingredients but it will have to be in bold so that it is easy to see.
But… you will need to become an avid label reader!! Remember:
Egg can also be known as
And it can appear in unlikely places such as:
When you buy food from a café or restaurants, remember to check with your server if the food contains egg or not.
Who do I need to tell?
Tell everyone in the family – and not just your immediate family but grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins – especially if there are lots of children. You do not want to cause panic but you do need everyone to know that the condition is serious and that they must be vigilant (especially if the child is small) and ensure that the child does not come into contact with any egg-containing foods.
Tell any close friends, and their children, with whom you or your child may spend time.
Child-minders or nurseries
It is very important that you talk to the nursery or child-minder if your child goes to either. Child-minders may not be prepared to accept the responsibility of seriously allergic child but nurseries should be able manage the situation. A care plan will be of great help but you still need to discuss the child’s needs in detail with them. You also need to know that they know how to use an auto-injector and are prepared to do so if needed – and that they have a proper emergency procedure.
Make sure that you talk to the school about your child’s allergy and, if there is a school nurse, that you talk to him/her. Again, a pre-existing care plan will be very helpful.
Auto injector pens.
Get the school involved:
There is a brilliant free school video pack created by Allergy Adventures which will teach not only the children but the teachers about the management of food allergy in a really fun and exciting way – all tied into curriculum subjects.
Karen Waggott, whose son Jamie has a severe nut allergy, has put together an excellent management plan for schools. For the background to the plan click here; for a summary of the plan, click here; for the full plan click here.
What do I tell my child?
This will depend very much on the age of the child.
If very young:
If they have an IgE mediated allergy:
Whatever kind of allergy/intolerance they have:
Once they go to school:
If they have an IgE mediated allergy:
What do I do if my child accidentally eats something containing egg and I think he or she may be having an anaphylactic reaction?
What else can I do to keep myself or my child safe?
Follow the links below to find:
Growing out of egg allergy
Because most children do grow out of their egg allergy it is worth having them checked on a fairly regular basis—maybe once a year. The chances are that they will start to tolerate cooked egg first but that will already open up a big range of foods—such as cakes!!
Hopefully they will continue to progress so that by the time they are in their teens they will be able to tolerate egg in most forms.
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