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Flu vaccine: Safe for people with egg allergy?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flu-vaccine-egg-allergy/AN02033
- With Mayo Clinic asthma and allergy specialist
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.read biographyclose window
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.James Li, M.D.
"People with allergy or asthma can lead full and healthy lives." — Dr. James Li
Dr. James Li is chair of the Division of Allergic Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine and a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist. He hopes his expertise and the information on the site educates health care consumers in an area of rapid change both in medications and diagnoses.
"There are a lot of misperceptions about allergy and asthma," says Dr. Li, a New York City native who has been with Mayo since 1985 and works with a group of subspecialists in allergy, asthma and immunology. "I believe it's important to provide truthful, accurate information about allergy and asthma to the public. The more people know, the better they can take care of these conditions."
Dr. Li is a professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. He's a past director of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, and the American Board of Internal Medicine. He's a fellow in the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology honored him with the Distinguished Service Award, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology with its Special Recognition Award.
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Flu vaccine: Safe for people with egg allergy?
Can I get the flu vaccine if I'm allergic to eggs?
from James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Yes. Some flu vaccines are made using eggs. As a result, the vaccines have tiny amounts of egg proteins in them. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that if you're allergic to eggs that you can't get a flu shot.
There is a flu vaccine that doesn't contain egg proteins, approved for use in adults age 18 and older. And even flu vaccines that do have egg proteins can be given safely to most people with egg allergy without any problems.
If you've had a reaction to eggs in the past, talk to your doctor before getting a flu vaccination. Your doctor may choose to give you the vaccine made without use of eggs or send you to a physician who specializes in allergies. A skin test may be needed to see if you truly are allergic to eggs. A nurse or doctor will scratch a tiny amount of egg protein on your skin and watch to see if your skin reacts to it.
If the skin test is positive, you still will probably be able to get the influenza vaccine. Your doctor may want you to wait 30 minutes before leaving, in case you have a reaction. Some physicians recommend giving 10 percent of the vaccine in one injection, then the remaining 90 percent of the vaccine in a second injection if there is no reaction to the first dose.Next question
Flu mask: Should I wear one?
- Greenhawt MJ, et al. Administering influenza vaccine in patients with suspected egg allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/media/h1n1/egg_allergy_li.pdf. Accessed Nov. 11, 2010.
- FDA approves first seasonal influenza vaccine manufactured using cell culture technology. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm328982.htm. Accessed Nov. 20, 2012.