Egg Allergy and the Flu Shot

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center say allergies, especially to eggs, are no reason to avoid getting a flu vaccine.

Karl von Tiehl, MD, Division of Allergy and Immunology, says that while the amount of egg protein in both the current seasonal and swine flu vaccines is low, people who have egg allergies should still take precautions.

“There have been vast improvements in vaccine technology over the past few years, which makes the amount of egg protein in the seasonal and swine flu vaccine very low,” he said. “However, patients with egg allergy are at risk.”

Dr. von Tiehl and his colleagues note that there is only one flu vaccine on the market that does not contain any egg protein, but it is only approved for patients 18 and older. Both the nasal flu spray and the flu shot contain egg protein.

The safest way to get the flu shot if you have egg allergy is to be skin tested first in an allergist's office and (assuming the skin test is negative) to then receive the flu vaccine shot in the office where you were skin tested, according to Dr. von Tiehl.

About Cincinnati Children's 

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of 10 children’s hospitals in the United States to make the Honor Roll in U.S. News and World Reports 2009-10 Americas Best Children’s Hospitals issue. It is #1 ranked for digestive disorders and is also highly ranked for its expertise in respiratory diseases, cancer, neonatal care, heart care, neurosurgery, diabetes, orthopedics, kidney disorders and urology. One of the three largest children’s hospitals in the U.S., Cincinnati Children’s is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

President Barack Obama in June 2009 cited Cincinnati Children’s as an island of excellence in health care. For its achievements in transforming health care, Cincinnati Children’s is one of six U.S. hospitals since 2002 to be awarded the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize for leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. The hospital is a national and international referral center for complex cases. Additional information can be found at  

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