Allergy to egg is one of the most common food allergies in infants. Allergic reaction to egg usually becomes noticeable when the baby is about 10 months old, according to Dr. Ralf Heine in the March 2006 issue of “Current Allergy and Asthma Reports.” Breastfed babies may get their first early exposure through the mother’s milk. Egg allergy is difficult to diagnose because it is a hidden ingredient in many foods, according to the Nemours Foundation. Allergic reactions can range from mild to life-threatening, so it is important to know the symptoms of egg allergy.
Skin problems are the most common signs of an egg allergy in infants. Parents may see dry, red, itchy skin and rashes on their infant’s face, inside the elbows and behind the knees within up to 30 minutes of eating eggs, baby food with an egg ingredient, or drinking breast milk after a mother had eaten eggs, according to Heine. The baby may become fussy and try to scratch or rub the itchy areas. Hives, swelling and flushing are also common symptoms of atopic dermatitis in infants. Infants who have family history of allergy to eggs or other food have higher risk of developing more severe symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Physicians may advise parents to hold off giving egg to their infant if there is a history of allergy in the family.
Infants with egg allergy may experience stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, or itching or swelling around the mouth. A baby that is fussy and has diarrhea or vomiting after eating egg, baby food with egg, or breastfeeding after a mother had eaten eggs may have an egg allergy. According to Heine, a minority of infants may have severe digestive symptoms of egg allergy, including diarrhea with blood, difficulty swallowing and acid reflux.
Anaphylaxis is a sudden, life-threatening allergic reaction that involves several areas of the body. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing along with swollen, itchy skin, diarrhea and vomiting. According to Heine, infants who have egg allergy may experience sudden and severe anaphylactic reactions immediately after eating egg or baby food with an egg ingredient. Further, infants with atopic dermatitis are at risk for developing anaphylaxis on their first exposure to egg. In general, only 10 percent of children, including infants, develop anaphylaxis due to egg allergy, according to Heine. Physicians may advise parents to request allergy testing for their infant after an incident of severe allergic reaction to egg.