Monday, November 21, 2011

Egg Allergy Doesn’t Rule Out Flu Shots

New Recommendation

For many years when fall and flu shots rolled around, patients were told that if they have allergies to eggs they should not have a flu shot.  The reason cited was that chicken eggs are used in vaccine production and there were concerns about traces of egg protein triggering reactions.  Turns out, it’s probably okay.

New recommendations by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) say that anyone with a history of suspected egg allergy should first be evaluated by an allergist or immunologist for testing and diagnosis but can probably receive the vaccination.

Matthew J. Greenhawt, M.D., M.B.A., clinical lecturer at the University of Michigan Health System and James T. Li, M.D., Ph.D.,chair of the Division of Allergic Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic, co-authored the AAAAI guidelines based on recent studies.

Because about 20% of the US population comes down with the flu each year, vaccination is important.  Many studies have shown few reactions, with a scattering of hives or mild wheezing.  No skin tests are needed, as results aren’t predictive. 

There is also no need to divide the dose. Single-dose studies support giving the entire vaccine dose at one time. Egg-allergic patients must get the inactivated flu shot since this is what was used in research, and they cannot receive nasal vaccine.

You can read more about these guidelines and the research findings at:

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