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Egg Allergies and Symptoms

Aug 18, 2007
Eggs have been a part of our diet for as long as we can remember. Whether eaten scrambled, hard-boiled, or in cooking and baking, eggs are an all-American food. For most of us, eggs are simply another delicious food to be eaten but for some people, eggs can be deadly as their body overreacts to the proteins.

What happens is that for people with an egg allergy, the body views the proteins as a bad thing, an invasion so to speak. To fight off the protein, antibodies known as immunoglobulin E or IgE is produced. Therefore, when the person with an egg allergy eats eggs alone or in other foods, an allergic reaction is triggered. The body sends out these antibodies along with histamines, making the person feel lousy.

The interesting thing about an egg allergy is that typically, the reaction is from the proteins found in the egg yolk and not the whites. Another fascinating aspect of an egg allergy is that the reactions are usually seen in children under the age of five. In most cases, once the child reaches five, the allergy has been outgrown. However, there are rare occasions when an adult will show signs of an egg allergy.

The symptoms associated with an egg allergy generally appear within five to ten minutes after eating eggs although there are occasions when the reaction can take an hour or more. While most of the symptoms last 24 hours or less, they can last longer if the egg allergy is more severe. When a reaction occurs, the first sign is a red, bumpy rash and/or swelling and redness around the mouth.

Other egg allergy symptoms might include problems with the stomach such as abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, some people will experience problems with the respiratory tract, commonly seen as itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and in serious cases, asthma to include coughing and wheezing.

In the most severe cases of egg allergy, a person will have a problem with anaphylaxis, which involves swelling of the throat, mouth, and even the airway. When this occurs, the person feels constriction of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Another problem seen on occasion with an egg allergy includes a dangerous drop in blood pressure. When this happens, the individual would become very dizzy and even pass out.

If you suspect you have an egg allergy, you should talk to your doctor for a correct diagnosis. However, this can be challenging in that someone with an egg allergy may have a reaction one time and then not the next. Therefore, you will need to work closely with your doctor to help make the correct diagnosis so the correct treatment can be determined.
About the Author
Grant Segall RPh is the webmaster and editor of Allergy-Allergya website dedicated to helping those suffering from allergy and allergy symptoms.
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