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Egg Allergy No Obstacle to Child's Flu Shot, CDC Says

New guidelines say special precautions aren't needed

FRIDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The latest research shows that it's safe for children with an egg allergy to get flu shots without special precautions, according to an update on the issue.

The current recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is to observe children who have an egg allergy for 30 minutes after a flu shot.

It also advises that the shot should be given under the care of a primary care doctor if a child's reaction to eggs is only hives, and under the supervision of an allergist if a child's reaction to eggs is more serious.

However, the new update -- published in the October issue of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology -- states that such special precautions are not necessary.

"In a large number of research studies published over the last several years, thousands of egg allergic children, including those with a severe life-threatening reaction to eating eggs, have received injectable influenza vaccine (IIV) as a single dose without a reaction," allergist Dr. John Kelso said in a news release from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

"The benefits of the flu vaccination far outweigh any risk," he said. "As with any vaccine, all personnel and facilities administering flu shots should have procedures in place for the rare instance of anaphylaxis, a severe life-threatening allergic reaction. If you have questions or concerns, contact your allergist."

Flu leads to the hospitalization of more than 21,100 children under the age of 5 in the United States each year, yet only two-thirds of children are vaccinated against flu annually, the news release says.

Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children, but about 70 percent of those with the allergy outgrow it by age 16. Most allergic reactions to egg involve the skin.

The update is endorsed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about egg allergy in children.

SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, Oct. 1, 2013

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