Extensively Heat Egg and Egg Allergy

October 25, 2010

Egg allergy is one of the more common food allergies in children under the age of 3 and is especially common in children with atopic dermatitis.  Most children will outgrow egg allergy, but  it is often difficult to determine exactly when that is going to happen.  Although it is relatively easy to avoid whole eggs in the form of scrambled eggs, omelettes, souffles and quiche, it is more difficult to avoid eggs that are present in baked goods such as cookies and cakes.   

Many children with egg allergy can tolerate extensively heated eggs in oven baked goods, even though they react to cooked or partially cooked eggs in other forms.   Recent research has shed some light on how doctors can differentiate those who are able to tolerate egg in baked goods and those who can’t.  There are over 20 different glycoproteins that make up the allergenic component of egg white.  Ovomucoid is the glycoprotein associated most closely with reactions to extensively heated egg as it is highly stable in heat.  

There is a blood test available that can measure IgE (allergen antibody) against ovomucoid as well as other egg white glycoproteins.  The level of IgE can help your doctor determine if it is reasonable to do an open challenge with extensively heated egg.  The higher the level of IgE against ovomucoid, the less likely someone is to tolerate egg in baked goods.   Some “cut off values” for challenges have been established based on research looking at IgE levels in children with egg allergy.  IgE values can also be used to determine if it is appropriate to do an open challenge with whole egg as well.

Please note that challenges should always be done in a doctor’s office and never at home.

Note: The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant as specific medical advice for a specific person.   If you have a medical problem, please contact your doctor.

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