Flu season is here and we all need to be protected by getting our flu vaccine. Since most types of influenza vaccine contain a very small amount of egg protein, it has been a tradition that healthcare providers ask their patients if they are allergic to eggs.
Recent studies have shown that even individuals with confirmed egg allergy can safely receive the flu vaccine. The Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics state that egg-allergic patients may receive the influenza vaccine no matter how severe the egg allergy.
If the patient’s egg reactions have been mild (i.e. hives only), the vaccine may be administered in a primary care setting. The normal precautions for giving any vaccine to any patient should be followed. Vaccine providers should observe the egg allergic patient for 30 minutes in their office. They should be prepared to recognize and treat any rare reactions.
For pediatric or adult patients with severe egg allergies (i.e. more severe symptoms than hives), they can make an appointment with a board certified allergist/immunologist to receive their flu shot.
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