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Living With an Egg Allergy

Eggs are everywhere. At least, that's how it can seem when you have an egg allergy and you're trying to avoid them! What helps is knowing where to look and savvy egg substitutes for cooking.

Eggs and Proteins

Most people with egg allergies are allergic to the egg whites, not the yolk. But to be safe, you shouldn’t eat either the white or the yolk. Even if you separate them, the yolk is likely to have some of the proteins in it. Also avoid:

  • Egg powder
  • Dried eggs
  • Egg solids

Where the Eggs Are

Many foods -- from canned soups to root beer -- can have eggs in them:

  • Baked foods
  • Breaded and batter-fried foods
  • Caesar salad dressing
  • Cream pies, fillings, and puffs
  • Crepes and waffles
  • Custards, puddings, and ice cream
  • Eggnog
  • Eggrolls
  • Egg substitutes
  • Coffee drinks like cappuccino (eggs are sometimes used to help create the foam)
  • Fizzes
  • Lollipops and other candies
  • Marshmallows and marzipan
  • Mayonnaise
  • Meatloaf and meatballs
  • Meringue and frostings
  • Pastas
  • Sauces, including Hollandaise and tartar sauce
  • Simplesse (fat substitute)
  • Soufflés
  • Soups and consommés
  • Wine

Eggs by Other Names

If you see these ingredients on food labels, it means the food may contain egg proteins:

  • Albumin
  • Globulin
  • Lecithin
  • Lysozyme
  • Ovalbumin
  • Ovovitellin

What About Vaccines?

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine contains eggs. In studies, though, it’s been safe for people with egg allergies.

Flu vaccines may also have some egg protein in it. It's long been advised that people with allergies to eggs should not get the flu shot. However, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says the vaccine contains such a low amount of egg protein that it's unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in those with an egg allergy. If you have a severe egg allergy (anaphylaxis), talk to your doctor before getting the flu vaccine. Also, a flu vaccine that is not made with the use of eggs is available. The vaccine, called Flublok, is approved for use in those 18 to 49 years old. 

The Bottom Line: Read Labels

The only way to know for sure if a food has eggs in it is to read the food label and ingredients list carefully, or ask about menu items at restaurants. If you still aren't sure, don’t eat the food.

Also check labels of cosmetics, shampoos, creams, and lotions. These can sometimes have eggs in them, too.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on October 25, 2012
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