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 .
Research has shown that the two primary allergens/proteins in egg whites are ovalbumin and ovomucoid . Conalbumin is another key allergen—plus more than three other “minor allergens” are present .
Eggs are a common allergy for children; allergies can appear during infancy and many children will “outgrow their egg allergy before adolescence” .
Other risk factors listed by the Mayo Clinic that increase your likelihood of developing an egg allergy include:
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) .
Egg white allergy symptoms usually appear within a few minutes to a few hours after exposure .
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as symptoms of an allergic reaction to eggs :
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 :
While sometimes it is out of your control, here are some best practices to prevent allergic reactions according to The Mayo Clinic :
Other than actually cracking an egg into a frying pan, many products contain eggs and egg whites.
Foods that contain eggs can include:
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.
When shopping for food, avoid the following ingredients in processed foods, as they are egg products:
Some common vaccines contain egg products that can trigger allergic reactions:
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 .
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” .
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.