Currently there is no egg allergy cure. The current management for egg allergy is avoidance of egg protein intake. Although many egg allergic children can tolerate baked egg.
Most children spontaneously outgrow their egg allergy, although up to 20% remain allergic and dietary mistakes can prove very serious for these patients. The severity of these reactions can increase over time and it becomes more difficult to adhere to an avoidance diet, that leads to school and social problems and decreases a child’s quality of life. In recent years there have been attempts to come up with an egg allergy cure. This has led to attempts to come up with an oral immunotherapy protocol. The egg is administered orally in small doses and increased slightly over time, leading the patient to become desensitized, in which he/she can ingest the egg without reaction while continuing to take regular doses.
Egg allergy cure protocols have been relatively well tolerated with a success rate of 50% to 90%. However it is not ready yet to be introduced to clinical practice. There are many different regimens that vary from days to years. In all of these regimens the number of adverse reactions are high, but easily controllable, typically involving the skin and gastrointestinal tract.
A recent study done in Spain took 20 egg allergic children aged from 5-15 years old. Do not try this at home. Children were started with 0.1 ml of egg white and the the dose was increased weekly to reach 32 ml (A normal 1 ounce egg is 30 ml). The study lasted 14 weeks, with the children coming in weekly for the increased dose. Between visits, patients were advised to ingest daily at home the maximum dose achieved. At the end of the study 12 patients (60%) completed the protocol. Adverse reactions were mouth itching, lip swelling, abdominal pain and vomiting. Other patients had severe side effects including anaphylaxis, uvula edema and severe eczema. Thus the importance of not trying this at home. After 1 year, 60% of the patients were still able to tolerate egg in every form and thus were “egg allergy cured.”
Other studies have showed desensitization up to 90% for egg allergic patients. Most patients when they are desensitized to eggs need to continually consume eggs in order no to lose their tolerance to eggs.
There are many different protocols to follow for a potential egg allergy cure. There likely won’t be a one size fits all approach to egg allergic patients, as each protocol needs to be tailored and modified depending on a child’s reaction and tolerability after ingestion. These protocols are not ready yet for clinical practice as the “kinks” still need to be worked out. To reiterate, parents should not try this at home, but food allergy research centers are trying these studies and if you are interested you can speak to your allergy doctor to see if this will be right for your child. Your allergist would be the right doctor to speak with regarding egg allergies. But overall this is good news and a potential egg allergy cure may be on the horizon.