What is an egg allergy?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

An egg allergy is an improper reaction by your immune system—in this case, to eggs. Your body spends so much time trying to protect you from harmful agents that in some cases it overreacts and misidentifies common substances as dangerous. In an egg allergy, your immune system believes that certain proteins within the egg are dangerous. In an effort to keep you healthy, your body tries to neutralize the egg proteins, which creates an allergic reaction.

The reaction caused by an egg allergy can be serious, but it is not always. Some people have a mild reaction that results in hives, asthma or other respiratory and digestive issues. Others, however, can develop a serious egg allergy reaction called anaphylaxis. If that happens, airways can become blocked, which prevents breathing. Someone in anaphylaxis can also go into shock or lose consciousness. These serious reactions require immediate treatment with an epinephrine syringe and a trip to the emergency room.

Dr. Julie Wang, MD
Pediatric Allergist & Immunologist

An egg allergy is an immune reaction to egg proteins. When an egg allergic person is exposed to egg proteins, a variety of symptoms can occur. These symptoms can affect the skin (e.g., hives, rash, swelling), the gut (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), the airways (e.g., wheezing, cough, shortness of breath) and/or the heart (e.g., drop in blood pressure, fainting).

Like any food allergy, egg allergy has the potential to trigger a life-threatening allergic reaction in affected individuals.  Egg allergy can cause a range of symptoms that can affect the skin, gut, airways and/or heart.  Allergic reactions are unpredictable in severity; therefore, it is important to be prepared at all times with emergency medication (epinephrine autoinjector and antihistamine) and emergency action plan.

Continue Learning about Egg Allergy

How can I protect my child from an egg allergy?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
You cannot protect your child from developing an egg allergy, but you can protect your child from re...
More Answers
What foods can my child with an egg allergy eat?
Overland Park Regional Medical CenterOverland Park Regional Medical Center
Children and adults with severe egg allergy need to read labels and avoid all egg products. This wou...
More Answers
Is an egg allergy life-threatening?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Egg allergies can be life-threatening if you have a serious reaction. Similar to other food allergie...
More Answers
Should I talk to my doctor about my egg allergy symptoms?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
You should always talk to your doctor about your egg allergy symptoms, even when they are mild. Thou...
More Answers

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.