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Egg white allergy symptoms explained

Written on November 28, 2022 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH, Sexuality Educator & Certified Sexologist. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

As you may know, foods (and lots of other things) contain chemical structures called proteins. If you have an allergy, you are allergic to an allergen, or foreign proteins (foreign meaning not naturally found in the human body), that makes up that food. If you have an egg white allergy, you are sensitive to one or more proteins, specifically called glycoproteins, that are found in egg whites [1].

Research has shown that the two primary allergens/proteins in egg whites are ovalbumin and ovomucoid [2]. Conalbumin is another key allergen—plus more than three other “minor allergens” are present [2].

Who has egg white allergies?

Eggs are a common allergy for children; allergies can appear during infancy and many children will “outgrow their egg allergy before adolescence” [3].

Other risk factors listed by the Mayo Clinic that increase your likelihood of developing an egg allergy include:

  • Atopic Dermatitis: “Children with this type of skin reaction are much more likely to develop a food allergy than are children who don't have skin problems.”
  • Family History: “You're at increased risk of a food allergy if one or both of your parents have asthma, food allergy, or another type of allergy — such as hay fever, hives, or eczema.” [3]

Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions vary from person to person because (1) allergies can range in severity and (2) there are multiple ways to be exposed to allergens. Different types of exposure include injection (like if it were in a vaccine), contact with the skin, ingestion (eating or drinking), or inhaling (breathing it in) [1].


Egg white allergy symptoms usually appear within a few minutes to a few hours after exposure [3].

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as symptoms of an allergic reaction to eggs [3]:

  • Skin inflammation or hives (the most common egg allergy reaction)
  • Nasal congestion: runny nose and sneezing (allergic rhinitis)
  • Digestive symptoms: cramps, nausea, and vomiting
  • Asthma: coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath
  • Anaphylaxis


Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.

In the case of anaphylaxis, an epinephrine shot (“epi pen”) should be immediately administered (where prescribed), and the allergic person should be immediately seen by a healthcare provider.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of anaphylaxis include [3]:

  • Constriction of airways, including a swollen throat or a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Rapid pulse
  • Shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure, felt as dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness

Preventing an allergic reaction

While sometimes it is out of your control, here are some best practices to prevent allergic reactions according to The Mayo Clinic [3]:

  • Read food labels carefully. Some people react to foods with only trace amounts of egg.
  • Be cautious when eating out. Your server or even the cook may not be completely certain about whether a food contains egg proteins.
  • Wear an allergy bracelet or necklace. This can be especially important if you or your child has a severe reaction and can't tell caregivers or others what's going on.
  • Let your child's caregivers know about his or her egg allergy. Talk to your child's babysitters, teachers, relatives, or other caregivers about the egg allergy so that they don't accidentally give your child egg-containing products. Make sure they understand what to do in an emergency.
  • If you're breastfeeding, avoid eggs. If your child has an egg allergy, he or she may react to proteins passed through your milk.

Common egg white exposures

Other than actually cracking an egg into a frying pan, many products contain eggs and egg whites.

Lesser-known egg products

Foods that contain eggs can include:

  • Marshmallows
  • Mayonnaise
  • Meringue
  • Baked goods
  • Breaded foods
  • Marzipan
  • Frostings
  • Processed meat, meatloaf, and meatballs
  • Puddings and custards
  • Salad dressing
  • Many kinds of pasta
  • Foam on alcoholic specialty coffees
  • Pretzels [3]


When sharing spaces with someone who is allergic to egg whites, it’s important to wash any and all utensils, serving ware, pots/pans, surfaces, etc., that touch egg whites to avoid cross-contamination. Depending on the severity of the allergy, you may need to completely separate dishes, etc., to eliminate the risk of contamination.

Look out!

When shopping for food, avoid the following ingredients in processed foods, as they are egg products:

  • Albumin
  • Globulin
  • Lecithin
  • Livetin
  • Lysozyme
  • Vitellin
  • Words starting with "ova" or "ovo," such as ovalbumin or ovoglobulin [3]


Some common vaccines contain egg products that can trigger allergic reactions:

  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
  • Flu (influenza) vaccines
  • Yellow fever vaccine [3]

The CDC explains: “Most flu shots and the nasal spray flu vaccine are manufactured using egg-based technology;” however, certain flu shot options accommodate egg allergies [4].

The Allergy and Asthma Network published an interview with Dr. Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet, MD, FACAAI, who is board-certified in allergy, immunology, and pediatrics and states: “The COVID-19 vaccines authorized by FDA are not manufactured using egg products or technology. So there’s nothing to talk about there even if you’re allergic to egg” [4].

Testing for an egg white allergy

Everlywell is here to support you in maximizing your health by helping to make sure you get the testing you need. Everlywell uses only CLIA-certified laboratories, so you can test for allergies and sensitivities confidently using our At-Home Food Sensitivity Test and At-Home Food Allergy Test.

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  1. Woodfolk JA, Commins SP, Schuyler AJ, Erwin EA, Platts-Mills TAE. Allergens, sources, particles, and molecules: Why do we make IGE responses? Allergology International. 2015;64(4):295-303. doi:10.1016/j.alit.2015.06.001 URL
  2. Hoffman D. Immunochemical identification of the allergens in Egg White. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 1983;71(5):481-486. doi:10.1016/0091-6749(83)90465-7 URL
  3. Egg allergy. Mayo Clinic. URL. Published June 11, 2022. Accessed November 20, 2022.
  4. Eghrari-Sabet J. Egg allergy and Covid vaccine. Allergy & Asthma Network. URL. Published March 20, 2022. Accessed November 20, 2022.
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