Flu Shot and Egg Allergies
People with egg allergy could have a reaction when given the flu vaccine because the vaccine may contain some amount of egg protein. Fortunately, even in individuals with confirmed egg allergy, flu vaccines may be administered under certain conditions by experienced physicians. Most reactions to flu vaccines are not due to egg-allergy.
How common is egg allergy?
Food allergies are more common in children than in adults. The prevalence of egg allergy depends on age and history of allergic disease. It is estimated that egg allergy exists in 1.6 percent of children in the general population, but it is more common in children with other allergies.
Is there a test to determine egg allergy?
The diagnosis of egg allergy is made based upon both clinical history and either the skin prick test or a blood test. As with any suspected food allergy, it is recommended that an allergist help confirm the test results.
Is there any way to administer the flu vaccine to a very high-risk patient who is allergic to egg?
When egg allergy is suspected, patients should be skin tested to the flu vaccine. If the test is positive, the severity of the reaction and the risk/benefits of administering the vaccine should be evaluated. If the flu vaccine is warranted, it can be administered in the office of an allergy specialist who can administer emergency treatment if necessary.
Is there an alternative flu prevention for high-risk people with egg allergy who are unable to take the flu vaccine?
Yes. A high-risk person with suspected egg allergy can use other flu medications within 24 hours of developing flu symptoms. The medication alleviates or prevents the progression of the flu.