"When a patient is sensitized to multiple foods, we help him/her to configure a balanced diet that ensures the nutritional needs and avoids the foods indicated by the allergology specialist".
DR. MARÍA JOSÉ GOIKOETXEA LAPRESA
SPECIALIST. ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
How do I know if I have an egg allergy?
Egg allergy is the most common cause of food allergy in children. Egg white causes allergic reactions more frequently than yolk, because it contains the ovomucoid, the protein that causes the allergic reaction in eggs and is more resistant to heat. Cooked eggs are also known to cause fewer allergic reactions than raw eggs.
The initial recommendation is to eliminate this food from the diet but this means that many foods cannot be consumed.
The treatment of food desensitization or induction of oral tolerance to eggs achieves, in approximately 2 months, that the patient can consume a fried or omelette egg three times a week.
In some patients, where egg sensitivity is not very high, express desensitization can be performed and tolerance is achieved in less than 7 days.
In the Department of Allergology of the Clinic we have extensive experience in the treatment of induction of oral tolerance and each patient is assessed individually. During the whole process it is supervised by our team of allergists and nurses specialized in the control of this treatment.
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What are the symptoms of egg allergy?
The first clinical manifestation of egg allergy can appear at any age but it is true that it is more frequent in the first two years of life, usually coinciding with the introduction of the egg into the child's diet.
The symptoms will depend on if the allergic reaction is mediated or not by Ig E. If it is mediated by Ig E the beginning of the symptoms usually is fast, in the following hours after the ingestion of the egg, manifesting itself by itchy mouth, edema, urticaria, cough and respiratory difficulty.
On the other hand if the allergy is not mediated by Ig E the symptoms are later, even to the days after the ingestion and usually are digestive symptoms.
The most common symptoms are:
- Itchy mouth and palate
- Hives and beans by the skin
- Rhinitis and/or conjunctivitis
- Breathing difficulty
- Asthma crisis
- Vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may occur later
In the most severe cases, anaphylactic shock can develop, compromising the patient's life.
Do you have any of these symptoms?
You may have an allergy to eggs and it may be possible to perform food desensitization treatment
What are the causes of egg allergy?
In egg allergy, the immune system reacts to the proteins contained in the egg.
Egg white contains the highest proportion of the causative proteins, the most important being ovomucoid, which is also resistant to heat and digestive enzymatic degradation.
There may be a certain genetic predisposition and the appearance of allergy is usually progressive, that is, a period of sensitization is required, which increases as the egg is ingested in the food, until at a given moment the symptomatology begins.
Exposure to the egg can even occur intrauterine or through maternal lactation, if the mother has ingested eggs.
Can egg allergy be cured?
Egg allergy often occurs in children under the age of one, which is when the egg is introduced into the diet.
In approximately 80% of cases, egg allergy resolves spontaneously, but in the rest, the allergy persists and conditions the life of the patient and his/her family.
If the treatment of food desensitization or induction of oral tolerance to eggs is effective, these patients can return to eating eggs and those foods containing traces of them. This makes their quality of life much better.
How is egg allergy diagnosed?
The diagnosis is made by means of a very simple skin test (prick test): drops containing a known amount of the allergen causing the egg allergy to which you may be sensitive are applied to the skin of the arm. The basis of this technique is to reproduce in the skin the reaction that we present in other parts of the body.
In addition, it is possible to perform blood tests, so that in a more precise way we can quantify and demonstrate the presence of specific Ig E against these proteins.
Sometimes, it is necessary to carry out a provocation test, which consists of observing under medical control the reaction that is produced after the ingestion of the food.
In addition to the usual skin tests, we can measure IgE by microarray, which gives us valuable information about the allergens that the patient recognizes.
How is egg allergy treated?
We have great experience in desensitizing to different foods such as eggs, milk and now also fish.
The first and most effective measure is to avoid contact with the allergen.
Egg is a very common food that is in many foods, medicines and components of a patient's daily life, this makes it very difficult to avoid this food.
The desensitization treatment consists of initially administering very low doses and gradually increasing the dose, in a progressive and very slow way, until a complete ration of egg is tolerated (one fried egg or in an omelet, three times per week).
This treatment requires that at all times, health personnel closely monitor this process to avoid significant allergic reactions.
This is complemented by education of the patient and family to teach them to avoid contact with this food and learn how to act in the event of a serious allergic reaction.
Overcome egg allergy in one week
When sensitivity to the product is low and if the child's immune system allows it, the 'target dose' can be achieved in five days.
This "express" desensitization process is indicated for patients with a not very high sensitization to these foods and an age between 4 and 10 years old.
Where do we treat it?
IN NAVARRE AND MADRID
Department of Allergology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra
The Department of Allergy and Immunology of the Clinic is part of the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network, composed of the 25 best departments of Allergy in Europe, chosen for their scientific excellence, multidisciplinary work, teaching and international activities.
We have the most advanced diagnostic techniques, we are at the forefront of research and we collaborate with the best experts. We have more than 50 years of experience in the field.
What diseases do we treat?
Why at the Clinica?
- More than 50 years of experience.
- Pioneers in the technique of molecular diagnosis by microarray.
- Nursing specialized in allergic diseases and their care.