There’s more to learn about protecting your baby from egg allergies. Read our Egg Allergy Guide to discover how you can lower your child’s risk of developing an egg allergy.
Once your baby has an egg allergy, every reaction is its own. The last time someone reacted to an egg does not predict how they will react the next time. A person with an egg allergy, or any food allergy, has to be vigilant all day every day to avoid a potentially life-threatening episode.
But managing an egg allergy has never been easier.
Have An Exposure Plan
The organization FARE, Food Allergy Resource & Education is one of the best out there. They have a number of resources that are great, but their action plan is a go-to for many parents of children with food allergies.
Exposure plans are pretty similar overall. Here are the major rules:
At the earliest signs of a reaction, use an antihistamine like Benadryl or Zyrtec if the child can swallow.
If two body systems are involved in the reaction (like skin AND stomach), use epinephrine and go to the ER.
If any critical body systems are involved in the reaction (trouble breathing, fast heart rate, drop in blood pressure) use epinephrine and go to the ER.
Reactions can show up minutes to hours after the exposure, so it is important to stay with your baby. If it is late at night and you feel you won’t be able to stay awake, go to the ER.
Whenever epinephrine is used, a child must get additional care. It doesn’t necessarily mean your baby will get more medication. However, because symptoms can worsen and improve over several hours after an exposure, it is important to be under the care of trained healthcare providers until your baby is in the clear.
Carry An “EpiPen” (Epinephrine Auto Injector)
It is critical for a baby with a food allergy to always have an EpiPen nearby. Allergic reactions can happen at unexpected times.
It's impossible to avoid people eating or snacking in public. And rarely do people wash their hands after eating; most will simply wipe their hands on a napkin, which does not remove the chance of egg protein transfer.
Imagine a child who eats scrambled eggs, wipes their mouth, and then promptly puts a toy in their mouth. Depending on how sensitive your baby is to eggs, that toy can now lead to an allergic reaction if your baby with an egg allergy also puts the toy in their mouth.
This is an extreme case, but it has happened. Your baby’s sensitivity to eggs can change as they get older, when your baby is tired, if your baby’s stress levels are high, or if they have a cold.
Carrying an EpiPen at all times is your baby’s most important line of defense.
EpiPens can be sensitive to heat and cold. Never leave an EpiPen in the car on a hot day, out in the sun, or out in the cold. There are many EpiPen carrying cases and holders available that can help control temperature, or make them easier to place in a bag or attach to your body. EpiPens are easy to slip into a diaper bag.
EpiPens expire so you have to buy new ones every year. While several studies have shown that the medicine inside is still effective well past the expiry date, your baby’s allergist will write a new prescription each year.
What You Need to Tell Friends / Family / Teachers
If your child has an egg allergy, it is important to tell everyone who takes care of your baby and everyone who might offer them food both what not to do, and what to look out for.
Make sure that every adult caring for your child knows how to use your child’s epinephrine auto-injector. Each prescription comes with a trainer which you can leave with others and show them exactly how to use the EpiPen.
Talk through all the foods that have egg in them (you can find a list of some down below). It’s a long list, and can help people understand the seriousness of paying attention.
Give each person an emergency plan, and talk through it with them. This will put everyone at ease.
Bring food or give caregivers specific lists of brands you are comfortable with. It definitely adds a lot of work and stress to the parents of babies with egg allergies, but many people aren’t sure what foods do and do not have eggs in them. The best option is often to bring your own food to gatherings so that there is no confusion. If someone else is shopping for your baby, telling them which brands you trust can help, but it is also easy to get the wrong flavor within a brand — be specific.
Take your time and only trust others with your baby once you feel comfortable doing so. It can be helpful to care for your baby together with a family member as a trial period.
For some parents, sending their baby to a school or daycare with an egg allergy can seem scary. But for many parents, there’s also no way around it.
Remember that each school wants to keep your child safe. A meeting to discuss your baby’s egg allergy and what she needs is helpful for both you and the school.
Most schools are required to create a 504 plan with parents. The goal of 504 plans is for children to be in the same classrooms with all other children, but with the services, changes, or help they need.
Foods that Contain Eggs
Let’s face it — eggs are kind of magical. Eggs bind ingredients in meatballs, leaven soufflés, thicken custards, emulsify mayo, and glaze pastry for a perfect finish. Eggs are used to clarify soups and coffee, and retard crystallization in boiled candies and frostings. Eggs add color, flavor, and moisture to many baked goods.
In short, eggs are everywhere.
This is a disaster for people with egg allergies.
While peanut allergies sometimes get all the attention, people with food allergies will often tell you that an egg allergy is far more terrifying. We surveyed nearly 200 food allergy moms whose children have an egg allergy. Almost every single person had an accidental exposure to eggs because they didn’t realize all the ways in which eggs are used and all the foods in which eggs are used.
Here are some surprising foods that contain eggs:
York Peppermint Patties
Icing or frosting
Ketchup at Wendys
Foam in espresso drinks
Laffy Taffy (some flavors)
Spices and spice mixes
Battered & fried foods
Bagels with egg wash
Shampoo and conditioners
Potting soil (can have egg shells)
Snickers / Milky Way
There are probably a few things on that list you are shocked could have eggs in them. And any of those could be lethal to a person with an egg allergy.
Do I Have To Be Worried About Vaccines?
Many medicines and vaccines have ingredients derived from egg. People with an egg allergy should confirm that their doctor and pharmacists are aware of their egg allergy, especially before receiving any new medicines. Some medicines use propofol, intralipid, or lysozyme, all of which can cause a reaction.
Flu vaccines are derived from the fluid of chicken embryos. Flu vaccines typically contain residual egg white protein (OVA), though the OVA levels vary between manufacturers and batches. Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, have been reported in people with an egg allergy after receiving a flu vaccine, though it is extremely rare.
The yellow fever vaccine is prepared in egg embryos, and allergic reactions to this vaccine have been reported. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is also made using a culture of chick embryo, but three large studies have demonstrated that it is safe for people with an egg allergy.
Most infants with an egg allergy must have their first vaccines at an allergists office. Following a successful administration of a vaccine, children may then receive future vaccines at their pediatrician’s.
Will my Baby Outgrow an Egg Allergy?
The good news about egg allergies is that, like milk allergies, there is a decent chance a child will outgrow them.
The old research showed that egg allergies were outgrown 80% of the time. That seems to be changing.
Later studies have shown that only about 55% of children outgrow an egg allergy by age 7. Furthermore, a study done in 2014 showed that the ability to outgrow an egg allergy increased with age: at 3 years, 20% outgrew it, by age 5, 30% outgrew it, and by age 7, 55% outgrew it.
More importantly, the likelihood of outgrowing an egg allergy is related to two things:
The strength of the body’s reaction to egg, also called an IgE level, when the allergy surfaced.
Whether the baby had moderate to severe eczema as an infant.
Infants who had higher IgE levels were less likely to outgrow the allergy and infants with moderate to severe eczema were also much less likely to outgrow the allergy.
Similar to egg allergies, milk allergies also seem to be most common around one year of age, and then about half of children outgrow them by the age of 6. Peanut allergies are different in that it seems more children become allergic between the ages of 1 and 6, although a significant portion of that “increase” is simply children who were never fed peanut before age 3.
Everyone wants to know if there is something they can do to increase their child’s chances of outgrowing an egg allergy. So far, no clear interventions have been identified. However, if a child can tolerate baked egg, regularly eating baked egg has been shown to increase the chance of eventually tolerating cooked or raw egg. Same goes for milk, where, if tolerated, eating baked milk can help the chances of outgrowing a milk allergy.
There’s hope for the future. A lot of research is being done into oral immune therapy — giving people increasing amounts of foods until they can tolerate them. And some studies are showing moderate success. Heavy investment in this area continues and we are hopeful that it will be solved in the next 20 years.
Best Resources For Egg-free Recipes
It can feel incredibly daunting to live a life free of eggs.
For some, it means completely re-imagining breakfast as a meal centered around eggs to another chance to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And you still get to have bacon!
Others are overwhelmed by how they are going to bake and make foods that holidays and family gatherings are focused around. (Is it even a birthday without birthday cake??)
Rest easy knowing that great minds have picked apart almost every recipe you can think of and found a way to make it without eggs. Our top favorite cookbooks for cooking and baking without eggs are
There are also a number of recipes on top cooking websites. And certain cuisines, like Indian food, rarely include eggs.
After a while, you might even forget that you used to cook with eggs!
Keep learning about egg allergies with more information about “curing” egg allergies.