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Can I Safely Get a Flu Vaccine with an Egg Allergy? October 15, 2021

Filed under: Health — malawer @ 11:40 am
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Flu season is upon us and it’s poised to spread like wildfire once again. Patients who are allergic to eggs want to be protected from the affects of the flu, but worry about the risk of anaphylaxis from the ingredients in the vaccine. Those of us with an egg allergy face the same challenge each fall: Can we safely get a flu vaccine?

Myth Busting

Concern about egg allergy and the flu vaccine is one of the many myths that surround vaccines that we can easily dispel. YES, you can get your flu shot even if you have an egg allergy. The amount of egg protein that might be in the shot is too little to trigger a severe reaction according to allergists and the CDC. If you also have asthma, it becomes even more important to get vaccinated as asthma can lead to more discomfort and serious complications.

Another myth worth dispelling: You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. The vaccine does not contain a live virus; the live virus used to produce the vaccine is killed, broken up, and purified to make the vaccine. This means, the flu shot does not have any ingredient in it that can make you sick or spread the virus as was previously thought. The components of the vaccine allow your immune system to form antibodies that will be ready to attack should you be exposed to the real thing.

A Little History

Vaccines have been produced using egg for more than 70 years.

When the flu vaccine was first introduced in the early 2000s, it contained a small amount of egg protein. At that time, doctors were concerned that those with an egg allergy might have a reaction. They were particularly worried that the nasal spray delivery method might overwhelm the immune system and trigger a response. For that reason, they used to recommend the injectable flu vaccine followed by a 15-30 minute observation period for anyone with an egg allergy.

…the scientific community has noted that only 1.31 people in 1 million will react [to the flu shot]. That’s 0.000131% for perspective. You have better odds of being hit by lightning.

Where We Are Today

Things are different today. Although the flu vaccine still contains a very small amount of egg protein (ovalbumin), studies have examined the use of both nasal and injectable flu vaccine in allergic and non-allergic patients and have recorded almost no reaction for those with an egg allergy. In fact, the scientific community has noted that only 1.31 people in 1 million will react. That’s 0.000131% for perspective. You have better odds of being hit by lightning. That’s great news!

There are some who react to vaccines. In the last 10 years, there have been several studies that have shown that most of these reactions are caused by another component in the shots, not the trace amount of egg.

As such, the CDC encourages those with an egg allergy to get the flu vaccine and no longer recommends an observation period. Now, you can get your flu shot and be on your merry way!

Severe Reaction to Eggs in the Past?

No worries! The CDC still recommends patients with a history of severe reaction get a flu shot, but they suggest doing so in a medically supervised environment. That could be at a clinic, doctor’s office, hospital, outpatient facility or anywhere else where healthcare professionals can respond to an allergic reaction in the unlikely event one should occur.

The CDC defines a severe reaction as any symptom other than hives, particularly cardiovascular (fainting, lightheadedness, etc), respiratory (wheezing, coughing, etc) as well as any reaction requiring epinephrine.

In Short/Recommendations

  • Doctors recommend that patients with an egg allergy get their flu shot.
  • If you have an egg allergy, the chances of having a reaction to the flu vaccine are incredibly low.
  • Both the flu shot and the nasal spray vaccine are safe for those with egg allergy.
  • Most patients with egg allergy no longer need to be monitored following their vaccine unless instructed by their doctor.
  • **If you have had a severe reaction to egg, be sure to get your flu shot in an inpatient or outpatient facility.**
  • The flu vaccine protects patients from serious illness.
  • If you have asthma, the flu shot is important to keep you from experiencing complications from the flu.
  • **If you have reacted to the flu vaccine in the past, talk to your healthcare provider before getting your next shot.**

Questions?

For more information, please see the CDC’s page Flu Vaccine and People with Egg Allergies.

Symptoms of the Flu

Should you experience any of the following symptoms, please stay home and call your doctor.

Symptoms of the flu – which range from uncomfortable to dangerous – can vary:

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, *this is more common in children than adults

 

Stay Healthy This Winter – Flu Vaccine For the Severely Egg Allergic October 23, 2013

Filed under: Health — malawer @ 9:32 am
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Flu_Shot_Advertising via wikicommons

Here’s some good news for everyone.  Researchers have come up with Flublock which uses recombinant DNA technology to prevent the flu.  Now available and approved for adults ages 18-49.

 

This is great news for those who are severely allergic to eggs!  Instead of using traditional vaccine components including egg, it uses an insect virus to help protect us from the dreaded flu.  Not only is it safe for those with an egg allergy, but it also protects those vaccinated against all strains of the flu and represents an advancement in the vaccine manufacturing process.

 

So, don’t cringe too much when you’re headed for your shot.  Relish in your good health and remember that you’re a part of the future of medicine!

 

And, if you’re looking to vaccinate those allergic to egg UNDER the age of 18, there’s more good news.  The CDC – endorsed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology ( ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology – just recently updated their recommendations regarding flue vaccines for the egg allergic.  The October 2012 edition of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology stated that special precautions (such as receiving the vaccine under a doctor’s care and remaining under observation for 30 minutes following the vaccine) are likely not necessary.

 

In emphasizing that the benefits of the flu vaccine outweigh the risk, allergist Dr. John Kelso, of the ACAAI, said, “In a large number of research studies published over the last several years, thousands of egg allergic children, including those with a severe life-threatening reaction to eating eggs, have received injectable influenza vaccine (IIV) as a single dose without a reaction. ”

 

**As always, contact your allergist with any concerns and for guidance specific to your individual healthy history.**

 

 
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