It's not easy living with an egg allergy – especially if you eat out, buy prepackaged foods, or eat fast foods. Eggs are in so many food products these days, that you can be eating eggs without even knowing it.
Eggs are an ingredient in many breakfast cereals, lots of breads, nearly all baked goods, tons of sauces, and frozen foods of all kinds. Much like those who suffer from a peanut allergy, if you have an egg allergy you are going to have to become extremely proficient at reading labels to ensure that you do not have a negative reaction to foods.
It's not uncommon for many kids to have allergies as infants and then to lose it by they enter grade school. But some researchers believe that the process can be hastened by intentionally exposing them to eggs that have been heat treated over a period of months.
In a study published by the Allergy and Clinical Immunology journal, 94 children with egg allergies were gradually exposed to heat treated eggs. The heat treated eggs were in the form of baked goods such as breads and cakes. After six months they were then tested with less processed eggs and ninety five percent had no reaction. This strongly indicates that those who suffer from egg allergies can gradually build up their tolerance to eggs through mild exposure to heated egg products over a series of months.
When a person has an egg allergy, he actually has an allergy to the egg proteins. An egg allergy is triggered by a person's immune system overreacting to proteins in the egg. Thinking that the proteins are a danger to the body, the person's system begins to create antibodies to combat the intruders. The antibodies, in turn, cause the body to release hormones into the body – called histamines. These histamines are the real cause of the reactions that many people immediately begin to experience such as shortness of breath, hives, and stomach aches.
Egg allergy is primary a child's disease. By the time a child reaches the age of about 5, he has most likely outgrown the allergy. In a very small percentage of cases, however, the child does not develop a tolerance for eggs and continues to have allergic reactions into adulthood.
Recent studies suggest, however, that it is possible to lessen the amount of time that it takes a child's immune system to become tolerant of eggs by slowly and continually exposing her to heat treated eggs over a six months period. The same may be true for adults, but it has not yet been tested.
An allergic reaction to eggs is usually instantaneous – within minutes. The person may develop hives and he may develop extreme redness in the facial area. The reaction can also affect the person's breathing making it difficult to draw breaths. In extreme cases, it can also cause the face to swell up and close the airway passages and possibly trigger an asthma attack. Reactions vary from person to person, but even in the worse cases, the attack is normally completely over in less than twenty four hours.