AAIQ   The Association of Allergists and Immunologists of Québec

Hen's egg allergy

The egg is one of the most common food allergens. Allergy to egg affects about 2% of young children, but is rare in adults. In up to 60-70% of affected children, there is a tolerance to well cooked egg as may be found in cakes, muffins, and cookies. Your doctor may discuss this with you.

How does one avoid eggs?

As for most other food allergies, treatment always begins with avoidance. In addition to informing those around you and taking precautions to avoid contamination, you must attentively read all food labels, since the egg protein can be found in many different foods. Other names can be used to designate egg: albumin, globulin, livetin, meringue, ovalbumin, ovoglobulin, ovomucin, vitellin, etc. (see the site of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for a more exhaustive list). In Canada, a law mandates that the term "egg" be clearly labelled in the list of ingredients.

What is the evolution of an allergy to egg?

In the majority of cases, an allergy to eggs disappears, and often before school age. Sometimes, patients are capable of tolerating well-cooked eggs before raw eggs. It is important to follow-up with your allergist.

Are certain vaccines contraindicated in patients with an egg allergy?

Certain vaccines such as the annual influenza vaccine and the vaccine against yellow fever can contain small quantities of egg protein. Previously the annual influenza vaccine was administered by allergists or in a hospital setting, but due to accumulating evidence of only a very low risk when administered to egg-allergic patients, since 2011 these precautions are no longer obligatory. See also the most recent recommendations put forth by a consensus among university allergists in Québec (French version).

For the yellow fever vaccine, an egg allergic patient needs to consult with his or her allergist to determine if it can be given. (See the section on Vaccine allergy). On the other hand, the RRO (or MMR) vaccine (against measles/rougeole, mumps/oreillons and rubella/rubéole), generally given at 12 and 18 months in Québec, is not contraindicated.


Nha Uyen Nguyen-Luu, MD FRCP
(translation: Andrew Moore, MD FRCPC)