Egg Allergy and Flu Vaccine

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Many people wonder if they can get a flu vaccine when they also have an egg allergy. While there may be small amounts of egg protein in flu vaccines, they are safe for most egg allergic individuals.

The process of making the flu vaccine involves incubating the virus in an egg. After several days the virus is then separated from the egg white. Flu vaccines have been tested in the past for egg protein with varying results. Most do not contain egg protein, however a small percentage do.

The best course of action for those with egg allergies is to proceed with caution. One can be allergy tested to the most recent flu vaccine including the H1N1 vaccine. If the results are negative, a single vaccine dose is given. If the results are positive, the allergist may consider giving the vaccine in multiple doses.

If there is a history of anaphylaxis to egg an allergist may or may not feel comfortable giving the flu vaccine in his office or at all for that matter. In these instances the pros and cons of receiving or not receiving the vaccination must be weighed.

For those with asthma and compromised immune systems it might be more important to look into alternative ways to receive the flu vaccine--such as in a hospital setting. For those who are otherwise healthy, the risk of anaphylaxis might outweigh the benefit of receiving the vaccine.

As always, one should consult with their doctor as to whether the flu vaccine is right for them. More information can be found at : http://www.aaaai.org/media/h1n1/egg_allergy_li.pdf

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