Eggs are among the most common food allergens. Along with peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, soy, milk, fish, including crustaceans and shellfish, wheat and other cereal grains containing gluten, and sulphites.
If you suspect that you or someone in your family has an allergy to a particular substance it is vital that you get an allergy test conducted. There are a variety of methods but here we look at the medical alternatives you can have offered to you via your local GP. Your doctor will probably refer you to an allergist or allergy specialist for further testing. The specialist will ask you questions that may cover things like how often you have the reaction, the time it takes between eating a particular food and the start of the symptoms, and whether any family members have allergies or conditions like eczema and asthma. It is a great tip to do a food diary in the few weeks leading up to the appointment, which you may have to wait a great deal of time for, and write down any symptoms beside the various days. This will be of great benefit to finding out which food may be the culprit.
Types of tests:
- One form of testing is by performing a skin test. This test involves placing liquid extracts of egg protein on a person's forearm or back, pricking the skin a tiny bit, and waiting to see if a reddish, raised spot forms, indicating an allergic reaction. This is easy to do and not so intrusive especially for a child. As a tip stop taking anti-allergy medications, cold medications and antidepressants several days prior to conducting the skin test so they don’t interfere with the results. The allergist should be able to assist you with this prior to your appointment.
- Blood samples are another form of testing which can be used by your local GP. They send it to a lab where it will be mixed with some of the suspected allergen and checked for IgE antibodies. In some cases, however, positive results of skin and blood tests aren’t enough to prove that a person’s symptoms are definitely being caused by eggs. So doctors may use what’s called a food challenge to help diagnose the allergy.
- A food challenge is another form of identifying whether in this case egg is causing the reactions. The person is told to not eat eggs or anything made with egg proteins for a certain period of time — usually a few weeks. After that, the person will eat foods that contain eggs only under close supervision from a doctor. If symptoms come back after eating egg products, it's a pretty sure bet the person