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Can Eggs Cause Allergies in Babies?

Written by Taylor Cossairt, medically checked by child nutritionist

Eggs are the ultimate breakfast staple. They’re in most baked goods and sweets. And they make a great afternoon snack. But if your child has an egg allergy, you might not be so excited about it.

Since eggs are tough to avoid, and this is why egg allergies are also tough to manage. Especially since most egg allergies make their first appearance during infancy. But in the meantime, there are ways to keep your child safe and reduce their risk of reaction. Here are some quick facts about baby egg allergies to get you started:

  • Roughly 2% of babies and children are allergic to eggs
  • Most babies outgrow their egg allergies by adolescence
  • An egg allergy is a reaction to egg proteins
  • Egg whites have more protein than egg yolks
  • Cooking eggs breaks down the proteins your child is allergic to

Ready to learn more about egg allergies and how to prevent them?

Here’s what this guide covers:

  • How to know if your baby has an egg allergy
  • When to call 911 for egg allergies
  • Top foods to avoid if your baby is allergic to eggs
  • Egg allergy prevention and treatment
  • Diagnosing egg allergies in babies and young children
  • FAQ: Everything you need to know about egg allergies in babies

How to Know if your Baby has an Egg Allergy: Signs and Symptoms

Your baby’s egg allergy is an immune system response. Their body thinks eggs are an invader. So the immune system sends out antibodies. Antibodies fight the egg proteins — and this is what manifests as physical symptoms. Most allergy symptoms show up within 2 hours of ingestion and this is what they usually look like:

Mild egg allergy

  • Congestion, runny nose, or sneezing
  • Slight swelling around the mouth
  • Skin rash, inflammation, or hives

Moderate egg allergy

  • Vomiting
  • Cramps or stomach aches
  • Diarrhea

Severe egg allergy

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Anaphylaxis

When to Call 911 for an Egg Allergy

Most egg allergies in babies are mild. But in some cases, egg allergies can be life-threatening. Seek emergency medical care and/or call 911 if your child’s reaction includes:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stopped breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe swelling in the face, throat, or tongue
  • Severe abdominal pain and/or cramping
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure (look for dizziness or lightheadedness)
  • Extremely fast pulse

Extreme symptoms show your infant is experiencing anaphylactic shock. It’s a severe, sudden allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

While your child waits for emergency medical care, administer an epinephrine injection. This is also known as an EpiPen® or auto-injector — and it manages the severity of your child’s anaphylaxis. Following an epinephrine injection, your child may take over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines.

Note that even if your child’s reaction subsides, still seek immediate medical care. Sometimes after an initial anaphylaxis reaction, a second “wave” of symptoms may occur.

Top Foods to Avoid if your Baby has an Egg Allergy

When your child has an egg allergy, the best way to manage it is through diet. By limiting your child’s exposure to eggs, you mitigate their risk of reaction.

Parent and caregiver pro tips:

  • Always wash your hands before and after preparing food at home. This helps avoid cross-contamination. Remember to clean prep surfaces, too.
  • The more cooked an egg is, the less likely your child is to have a reaction to it.
  • If your child has a known egg allergy, carry an epinephrine injector on you at all times.

What’s most surprising is that eggs aren’t always easy to find on food labels. Here’s a list of ingredients to avoid that contain egg proteins:

  • Albumin
  • Globulin
  • Lecithin
  • Livetin
  • Lysozyme
  • Ovalbumin, ovoglobulin, or anything starting with “ovo” or “ova”
  • Vitellin

It's surprising for parents and caregivers to learn how many foods contain eggs. Here are some common household items that may cause an allergic reaction in your child:

Sweets commonly made with eggs

  • Marshmallows
  • Meringue
  • Baked goods including cookies and cakes
  • Marzipans
  • Frostings
  • Candies

Meats commonly made with eggs

  • Processed deli meats
  • Meatloaf
  • Meatballs
  • Breaded chicken

Other foods commonly made with eggs

  • Salad dressings
  • Pasta
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pretzels
  • Puddings

Because eggs are so common, it’s tough managing what your child can and can’t eat. Some parents or caregivers choose to replace eggs altogether. This includes making home-cooked meals with alternatives like:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Tapioca starch
  • Applesauce
  • Tofu
  • Arrowroot powder
  • Commercial egg substitutes

Eggs in baked goods are usually used to bind or leaven. Luckily, foods other than eggs can do both.

Binding agent substitutes for eggs

  • Nut butter
  • Mashed bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Fruit puree

Leavening agent substitutes for eggs

  • Vegetable oil and baking powder
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Buttermilk
  • Yogurt

There are cookbooks and recipes available for egg-free dishes. And you can also research vegan alternatives. This is a great way to find tasty egg replacements in your child’s favorite meals and snacks.

How to Prevent and Treat Egg Allergies in Babies

Like most allergies, egg allergies aren’t curable. But the good news is that most babies often outgrow them. In the meantime, keep a close eye on your child’s symptoms and work with a doctor to plan ahead. Some common prevention and treatment techniques include:

Allergy action plans
  • Outlines symptoms and what to do in case of an emergency
  • Reviewed and signed by your child’s doctor
  • Provided to caretakers, teachers, school nurses, and so on
  • Includes instructions on emergency care like administering an epinephrine injection
Medications
  • Some medications help manage your child’s egg allergy symptoms
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription antihistamines
  • Epinephrine injections or auto-injectors
Vaccinations
  • Some vaccines contain egg proteins which can trigger an allergic response
  • Talk with your doctor about which vaccines are safe for your child
  • Learn more about vaccinations here
Food label monitoring
  • Check food labels for ingredients like albumin, globulin, and so on.
  • Avoid cross-contaminated foods by checking for text like “may contain eggs”
  • Commercial food labels in the EU should emphasize whether they contain common allergens
  • Look for bold, highlighted, or underlined text to find allergenic ingredients

How to Diagnose Egg Allergies in Babies and Young Children

Talk with your child’s doctor if you believe they may be suffering from an egg allergy. They’ll talk with you about your child’s diet and symptoms. And they’ll examine your child for hives, rashes, and so on.

Should your doctor suspect an egg allergy, they can diagnose your child with any of these tests:

Skin test

Your doctor or allergist applies allergens to your child’s back or forearm. Their back or forearm is then pricked to expose the skin to very small doses of common allergens. If your child’s skin reacts with hives, bumps, and so on, they may have an allergy.

Blood test

Elimination diet

FAQ: Everything you need to Know about Egg Allergies in Babies

Does an egg allergy put my baby at risk for other types of allergies?

Yes, your baby may be at risk for other common allergies. This is because the same immune response that’s triggered by eggs can also be triggered by:
  • Foods like milk, soy, or peanuts
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Grass pollen

Your child may also be at risk for atopic dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction on the skin. And there’s a possible link between asthma and egg allergies. If your child has an egg allergy, they may also have asthma, which can make allergic reactions more severe.

Check with your child's doctor to learn more about their specific allergies. And you can ask them for an allergy test for peace of mind.

Are egg allergies genetic?

Can babies with egg allergies eat fully-cooked eggs?

Do vaccines contain egg proteins?

Which vaccines provoke egg allergies in babies?

Can babies outgrow egg allergies?

Should I avoid eggs if I’m breastfeeding?

How do I check food labels to make sure my child doesn’t eat eggs by accident?