Dr. Danny’s Eggs-perience:
In the United States is that 5% of adults and 8% of children have one or more food allergies. The data suggests an equal split of about 1.8% for allergy to peanut, egg and milk. One large study in Australia showed a prevalence rate of raw egg allergy at 8.9%. Overall it appears that the prevalence of food allergy is increasing. Recent survey data suggest a triplingof peanut allergy in the United States over the past 10 years.
I’ve always thought of Madeleine as unique. Well, now it is certain. She is unique AND trendy. She likes to wear fashionable clothes and she has a knack for choosing the most expensive shoes from my wife’s closet when she plays “dress-up”. She’s also part of this trend…allergic to eggs. As we reviewed the meal from that evening and put the story together a couple of important facts came to light. First off, it did not make sense that a microscopic exposure to egg in Caesar salad dressing was the trigger. A little more research pointed to the dessert – ice cream, or rather custard with raw egg inside. Piecing together the big picture of the day also helped us. It was an exhausting day – a full day of school, a long drive to the mountains, playing with friends and dinner almost 2 hours later than usual.
Why might this be important?
In most food allergists’ offices you will find a waiting room of people reading magazines and playing video games on their phones. Most of these people are waiting the obligatory 30 minutes after their allergy shot, aka immunotherapy. For environmental allergies, shots are very effective (a topic for another time), but there is a risk of severe allergic reactions and the waiting period is an important safety requirement. There are a few risk factors that increase the risk of allergic reactions to allergy shots – certain medications, an asthma flare-up, illness and exercise are some of these risk factors. Our office staff members are trained to ask the “shot” patients about these risk factors at each visit. In Madeleine’s case I think her allergic reaction was related to two issues – consumption of raw egg AND fatigue.
While we pieced the puzzle together my wife began informing the school of Madeleine’s new allergy. Wow! Did they respond?! The very next day at school she was refused the pizza. The dough was made with egg. So the lunch staff told her she could not have it. School pizza had been one of her favorite lunches. She had eaten it many times. She came home distraught. What next? Should we be totally avoiding ALL egg exposures, pouring over labels and wiping down tables before she eats?