Egg allergies, like other allergies, are mostly an IgE-mediated immune response to a specific protein constituent of eggs. Family history of allergies and other concurrent allergies, particularly atopic dermatitis, are risk factors for developing food allergies.
Cutaneous manifestations are the most common for food allergies.
Skin Prick Testing and allergen-specific IgE serum assays are the primary clinical tests for diagnosing egg allergy. However, these test results must be corroborated with a sound history-taking and a diet diary.
It is a widely performed test as it is inexpensive, minimally invasive, done on an OPD basis with minimal risk to the patient, and used to test for a wide range of allergens. The results from SPT are quick and easily reproducible making it invaluable in allergen diagnosis.
The utilization of the right allergen proteins, with the right methodologies & proper controls, and ensuring avoidance of interfering medication is essential to a reliable result. The SPT has a 90% negative predictive value and is extremely useful for excluding non-IgE mediated differentials.
However, despite availability, this test is not performed often enough in India due to a lack of expertise, knowledge of its importance, or resources. In fact, our course, the Allergy Asthma Certificate Course was built to bridge these gaps in Allergy management in South-East Asia.
Allergen-specific IgE antibodies can be detected in the patient's blood sample. This test is highly predictive of an IgE-mediated allergic disorder.
However, it is more time-consuming and invasive than a Skin Prick Test. As with the SPT, corroboration with the history of the illness is essential to diagnosis.
Component testing is an emerging diagnostic tool wherein the specific offending component of the offending protein is identified. This has clinical significance in that certain foods containing the offending protein can be allowed in the patient's diet based on whether inactivation properties of that component to that cooking method.
After a period of eliminating the suspect food from the patient's diet, the physician reintroduces and feeds it to them gradually. If symptoms occur, this is stopped and the patient treated.
Although this is the gold standard for testing for egg allergies, it is generally avoided because of the risk of a severe reaction. It is preferred only when the results of the Skin Prick Test and Specific IgE test are inconclusive.
The lack of importance given to allergy management in the curriculum of medical colleges in South-East Asia has led to suboptimal diagnosis and management of allergic disorders despite allergic disorders being vastly prevalent throughout the country. If you would like to learn more, have a look at our Resources and other Blog posts as well. We also offer a comprehensive online course - the Allergy Asthma Certificate Course - for doctors interested in practicing specialist allergy management for their patients.
Allergies occur when a body wrongly detects a harmless substance as being harmful and mounts an immune response against it. People with a family history of allergies and other concurrent allergic conditions are at greater risk.
Allergic reactions can last from a few hours to a few days, and in certain cases even up to a few weeks - especially if allergen exposure is continuous.
It is estimated that roughly half of the children with an egg allergy outgrow it by the age of 7. If it persists, avoidance of eggs and emergency management are essential.
Q. How Do You Manage Egg Allergies?
Complete elimination of eggs and egg-containing products is recommended. If eggs are a major part of the patient's diet, alternatives to substitute for the nutrients eggs were providing them must be added to their diet. An emergency plan must be discussed with your allergist and implemented. Treatment measures should be decided based on your allergists' recommendations.