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Can I get a flu shot if I am allergic to egg whites?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these recommendations regarding flu vaccination for people with egg allergies:

  • If you have experienced only hives after exposure to eggs, you can receive any licensed and recommended flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for your age and health.
  • If you have symptoms other than hives after exposure to eggs, such as rapid swelling, respiratory distress, lightheadedness or recurrent vomiting, or you have needed epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention, you can get any licensed and recommended flu vaccine that is appropriate for your age and health, but the vaccine should be given in a medical setting and supervised by a health care provider who can recognize and manage severe allergic conditions. Appropriate settings include hospitals, clinics, health departments and doctors' offices. 
  • People with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.
Dr. Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrician

Even if you have an allergy to egg whites, you can probably still get the flu shot. For most people with an egg allergy, the risk of getting the flu is higher than the risk of having problems with the flu shot. Now if your allergy to egg whites is a severe one such as anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening allergic reaction, you should talk to your allergist before receiving the flu shot.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.