Study: Egg allergies may not be automatic disqualifier for getting flu shot

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Egg allergies may no longer be a valid reason to not get a flu shot, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology announced Friday. 

“The influenza vaccine is grown in chicken eggs, therefore it contains trace amounts of egg allergen,” stated allergist James Sublett, chair of the ACAAI Public Relations Committee. “It has been long-advised that children and adults with an egg allergy do not receive the vaccination. However, we now know administration is safe. Children and adults should be vaccinated, especially when the flu season is severe, as it is this year.”

A study published in the December 2012 issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, ACAAI’s scientific journal, showed that flu vaccinations contain such a low amount of egg protein that it won’t cause children to have an allergic reaction.

“The benefits of the flu vaccination far outweigh the risks,” Sublett said. “The best precaution for children that have experienced anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, after ingesting eggs in the past is to receive the vaccination from an allergist.”

Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children. By age 16, about 70% of children outgrow their egg allergy. Most allergic reactions to egg involve the skin.

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