Feel Good

Those with Egg Allergies Can Rethink the Flu Shot

Scientists found that the egg-allergic face no greater risk of a reaction to the immunization than the general public.

BY December 21, 2017

If you’ve been avoiding the flu shot because you are allergic to eggs, a new study suggests you can roll up your sleeve with a mind at ease.

The flu vaccine is grown in chicken eggs and contains trace amounts of the protein ovalbumin, an allergen found in the egg white. Starting in 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending that egg-allergic patients receive an annual flu shot, but with certain precautions such as receiving the shot in a doctor’s office and staying for a 30-minute observation period.

New research suggests that such precautions may not be necessary, as scientists have found that people with egg allergies face no greater risk of a reaction to the immunization than the general public. New guidelines were published this week in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

“When someone gets a flu shot, health care providers often ask if they are allergic to eggs,” allergist Matthew Greenhawt, M.D., chair of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s Food Allergy Committee, told Science Daily. “We want health care providers and people with egg allergy to know there is no need to ask this question anymore, and no need to take any special precautions. The overwhelming evidence since 2011 has shown that a flu shot poses no greater risk to those with egg allergy than those without.”

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