Egg allergy

Egg allergies are one of the most common allergies in children. Nearly one in 20 children has an allergy to eggs. However, many children outgrow their egg allergy by the time they are 16 years old.

Any allergy, including an egg allergy, can result in anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

What causes egg allergies?

All allergies are the result of an immune system error. For some reason, the immune system views certain proteins, in this case the proteins found in eggs, as dangerous to the body and releases a substance called histamine as a way to combat the danger. It is histamine that causes the symptoms of allergies.

Are egg allergies serious?

Kids who are allergic to eggs show an allergic tendency, and may be more likely to develop allergies to other foods. Additionally, some vaccines are manufactured using egg proteins, so parents of children with egg allergies need to make healthcare providers aware of the allergy. Any allergy can result in a condition called anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.

Can I prevent egg allergies?

There is no way to prevent the allergy from forming, but you can help your child by avoiding products that can cause a reaction. This can be challenging because there are many products that contain eggs so it’s important to be vigilant at all times.

How do I know if my child has an egg allergy?

Kids with egg allergies generally experience the following symptoms:

  • Itching, burning and swelling around the mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Skin rash (eczema)
  • Hives – raised red blotches on the skin (urticaria)
  • Diarrhoea and abdominal cramps
  • Breathing difficulties or wheezing
  • Nausea and vomiting

How do I treat egg allergies?

The best way to avoid triggering an allergy is by avoiding the allergen (the substance causing the reaction). Make sure that you read food labels so that you can keep your child from accidently eating anything with eggs in it. Sometimes, your doctor might advise you to use antihistamines to relieve the symptoms of the allergy if your child is accidently exposed. Anaphylactic shock requires immediate medical treatment. An injection of adrenalin can be life-saving in this situation.

Should I call the doctor?

Your doctor can help you diagnose and treat your child’s allergies. However, if your child has any of the following symptoms, seek emergency care immediately as these can be signs of anaphylactic shock.

  • Difficult or noisy breathing
  • Tongue swelling
  • Throat swelling or tightness
  • Excess wheezing or coughing
  • Loss of consciousness or collapse
  • Young children may become pale and limp

What you need to know about egg allergies

  • Egg allergies are very common in children.
  • Kids with egg allergies need to avoid eggs until a doctor certifies that they no longer have an allergy.
  • There is no way to prevent allergies, but they are manageable.
  • Allergies can result in anaphylactic shock, which can be life-threatening.

Find more relevant articles and information about egg allergies:


Written by Rebecca Stigall for Kidspot, New Zealand's parenting resource for family health. Sources include Better Health Channel, NSW Health and Health Insite.

This article is based on information available at the time of going to press but may be subject to change.
Remember too that all of us are different and individual cases require individual medical attention. Please be guided by your GP or specialist.

Last revised: Friday, 12 September 2014

This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.