Egg Allergy Prevalence

Egg Allergy Prevalence

Prevalence 
Egg allergy is one of the most prevalent allergies in children, being 1.6 – 3.2% (1). Egg allergy presentation is less common in older children and the adult population, which has prevalence between 1 – 1.6% (1). A child with an egg allergy will have an increased risk of dust mite allergy and asthma in the next couple of years after diagnosis (2). Children with an egg allergy may also develop peanut or other nut allergy (2). The window of opportunity for an egg allergy to develop is up until the first year of life (2). This may start prior to birth as the egg protein can cross the placental barrier and induce specific immune responses in the foetus (1), (2). Egg sensitization can also occur through breast milk (1). The sensitization to egg can be avoided in most cases if the maternal diet is free from egg from 
the later part of the pregnancy and for the first year of the child’s life (2). Often the first exposure to egg is when the child commences eating foods, usually after eating baby custard, scrambled egg, touching an egg in the egg carton, or tasting a raw cake mixture (1), (2). In the older children a reaction may occur after the consumption of foods containing uncooked egg, including ice cream, sorbet, mayonnaise, custard, and egg sandwiches (2). 

Clinical Presentation 
The most common clinical presentation of egg allergy is eczema in children between 6 – 15 months (2). 
Other presentations include urticaria, angio-oedema, anaphylaxis, acute vomiting, violent diarrhoea, colitis, with the gastrointestinal symptoms being less defined (1). Most egg allergic children have a natural aversion to egg (2). Highly allergic adults may experience nausea or a flare in eczema (2). Most adults with egg allergy have a natural aversion to egg and are able to eat egg if it is a minor ingredient in a food (2). Hen eggs and eggs from other birds have the same protein and can also illicit reactions in egg allergic individuals (2). 

By Julie Albrecht, Consultant Dietician Nutritionist A.P.D. 

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Hidden Egg Dangers in Everyday  Foods

Hidden Egg Dangers in Everyday Foods

Grains, bread, cereals and pasta: Egg pasta, macaroni, noodles 
 
Meat, fish, poultry and alternatives: All food made with or containing eggs such as battered or crumbed foods (such as fritters, schnitzel), frittatas, hamburgers, omelettes, quiche, rissoles or meat loaf, sausages, surimi (minced fish) and other bird eggs, such as duck or goose eggs 
 
Snack foods: pretzels 
 
Sauces, condiments, dressings and soups: béarnaise, Caesar salad and Ranch dressing, commercial soups, hollandaise, mayonnaise, tartare sauce 
 
Desserts and confectionery: Custard, frozen desserts, ice-cream, marzipan, marshmallows, meringues, mousse, nougat, pancakes, pavlova mix, pikelets, sorbet, waffles 
 
Baked goods: Biscuits, cakes, cheese cake, doughnuts, glazed pastries and breads, macaroons, slices, souffles, spinach pie 
 
Beverages and alcohol: Eggnog, malted drinks, milk drink mixes, wine 
 
Takeaway meals: Caesar salad, fried chicken, fried rice 
 
Other: Baking powder, egg lecithin. 
 
Read Food labels for the following egg-based 
ingredients: 
 Albumin 
 Dried egg 
 Egg protein 
 Egg white 
 Egg white solids 
 Egg yolk 
 Egg solids 
 Globulin 
 Livetin 
 Lysozyme 
 Mayonnaise 
 Meringue 
 ovalbumin 
 Ovoglobulim 
 Ovomucin 
 Ovomucold 
 Ovotransferrin 
 Ovovitella 
 Ovovitellin 
 Powdered egg 
 Silici Albuminate 
 Simplesse 
 Vitellin 
 Whole egg 

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Living With an Egg Allergy

Living With an Egg Allergy

The best way to be sure a food is egg free is to read the label. Manufacturers of foods sold in the Australia must list on their labels whether a food contains any of the most common allergens. This means that you should be able to find statements like these somewhere on the label: "contains egg ingredients," "made using egg ingredients," or "made in a facility that also processes eggs."

These label requirement makes things a little easier than reading the ingredients list — instead of needing to know that the ingredient "ovoglobulin" comes from egg protein, you should be able to tell at a glance which foods to avoid. Still, to make sure the foods you eat are egg free, you'll need to be on the lookout for any ingredients that might come from eggs. That means asking questions when eating out at restaurants or at a friend's home and carefully reading food labels.

When you eat in a restaurant or at a friend's house, call ahead before hand to establish how foods are cooked and what's in them. In some cases, you may want to bring your own food with you. When you're shopping, look for egg-free alternatives to foods that usually contain eggs, such as pasta.

Be aware that egg yolks are sometimes used to glaze pretzels, bagels, and other baked items.  Eggs are also often used as a foaming agent in beer, lattes, or cappuccinos.  Even some makeup, shampoos and medicines contain egg proteins.

People with an egg allergy may find that the health food section of the grocery store offers the most options. That's where you'll find vegan foods that are made without eggs or egg products.

 

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How Can Doctors Diagnose If a Person Has an Egg Allergy?

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

 

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Egg Allergen Card

Egg Allergen Card

If you are allergic to egg you might think it is a straight forward ingredient to avoid.  Unfortunately egg can have many other names and if you are not familiar with them you could end up introuble.

The Egg Ellergen Card shows the different names that egg can be shown as on ingredients lists as well as some prominent foods that you will need to avoid or double check the ingredients:

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Top Substitutions for Eggs in Your Cooking

Top Substitutions for Eggs in Your Cooking

Replacing eggs in cooking can be tricky, they provide flavour and binding; here are our top substitutions for eggs in your cooking:

 

1 Egg Equals Use Notes
1/2 Banana, mashed Pancakes, Cakes, Breads Very ripe bananas will add sweetness
1/4 cup Applesauce or 1/4 cup ripe mashed pears Breads, Cakes, Brownies Avoid using more than 1/4 cup total in any recipe
1/4 cup natural or Greek Yoghurt Brownies, Smoothies Can cause final product to be heavier
2.5 Tablespoons ground Flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water, set in fridge for 10 minutes Granola Bars, Smoothies Adds earthy, nutty taste and chewy texture
1 tablespoon coconut oil mixed with 2 teaspoons baking powder and 2 teaspoons water Gluten Free Baking Adds fat to the recipe, can be tricky to work with
1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water, set in fridge for 10 minutes Smoothies, Baked Goods Binds and thickens
1/4 cup pureed prunes (or any high pectin fruit) Breads, Cakes, Brownies Adds sweetness to recipe
1/4 cup pumpkin, mashed (canned works week, choose BPA free cans) Breads, Brownies Can be heavy
1/4 cup potato, cooked and mashed 9sweet potato might be yum!) Savoury dishes Can be heavy
1 tablespoon agar mixed with 1 tablespoon water, whipped and chilled Gluten Free Baking Used to replace egg whites only
1 tablespoon gelatine dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water, add 2 tablespoons boiling water, beat vigorously until frothy Gluten Free Baking Binds and thickens

 

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