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Daniel More, MD

Getting the Flu Vaccine With Egg Allergy

By November 13, 2012

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Flu season is nearly upon us, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the influenza vaccine for most children and adults, especially those with high-risk medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease) as well as young children and the elderly. However, since the influenza vaccine is produced in chicken eggs, it contains a small amount of egg protein, and therefore is considered contraindicated in those with egg allergy. Therefore, people with egg allergy have done without the influenza vaccine for years, putting themselves at danger of contracting influenza, a potentially life-threatening infection.

Despite the concerns about people with egg allergy experiencing allergic reactions from the influenza vaccine, most studies show that allergic reactions are rare. Studies on dozens on people with egg allergy (including life-threatening egg allergy), show that serious allergic reactions are rare as a result of receiving the influenza vaccine. Still, allergic reactions may occur, especially hives. However, it appears that for most people with egg allergy, the benefit of receiving the influenza vaccine (especially if they have high-risk medical conditions) outweighs the small danger of an allergic reaction. Still, the vaccine should be given under medical supervision, and the patient should be monitored for 30 to 60 minutes afterwards in an environment where severe allergic reactions can be recognized and treated.

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