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November 12th, 2009
01:41 PM ET

H1N1 vaccine safe with egg allergy?

As a feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers' questions. Here's a question for Dr. Gupta.

From Kali in Florida:

My 4-year-old daughter has egg and peanut allergies. Can she still take the H1N1 vaccine? If not what are her choices. I've been getting conflicting answers.

Answer:

Kali thanks for writing in. We’ve received several questions like yours since the H1N1 vaccine became available. Let me start by saying that if your daughter has a true egg allergy, and not just a sensitivity, then she can not have the H1N1 or the seasonal flu vaccine. The two types of H1N1 vaccine, the shot and the nasal spray, are made with eggs so it is not recommended for people with severe egg allergies.

However, allergists we spoke with said people with mild reactions to eggs can get vaccinated. Keep in mind that the amount of egg protein in a vaccine is often less than you would find in most baked goods. So if your daughter has been able to eat bread or cake, she may have a more mild allergy.

Consider going to an allergist and ask about getting a skin-prick test. The allergist will have a diluted and non-diluted version of the vaccine. Their first step will be to do the skin-prick test with the undiluted version. If your daughter does not break out in hives or have a strong reaction, then she can have a stronger test with a small, diluted injection. If your child doesn’t have a strong reaction to that test, then her allergy may not be severe and your allergist may give her a flu shot.

If your child does have a strong reaction and your doctor believes she shouldn’t get the flu shot, then talk with your health care provider about strategies for keeping her healthy. These steps are basic hygiene, such as washing hands for the count of singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice and staying away from sick friends plus, avoid wiping your eyes and touching your face if possible.

I hope this helps and your daughter has a flu-free season


Filed under: Allergies • Expert Q&A • H1N1 Flu • H1N1 Flu Vaccine

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. gary wilson

    Take a look at an interview with former Finnish health minister Dr. Rauni Kilde. She doesn't recommend any one getting the h1n1 flu shot especially pregnant women and young children. I hope she is wong because all three of my grandchildren have received the h1n1 flu vacine. An investigation into the contents of her statements deserve could prove very interesting.

    November 15, 2009 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. julie

    What do you know to be true or false coming out of the Ukraine in regards to "lungs filled with blood" and "155 degree lungs" "blackened". This obviously would not be H1N1, yet no media is covering it to get to the truth. I have no clue what is true or not, but would find it comforting if one journalist here in the U.S. was actually trying to get to the bottom of it.

    November 15, 2009 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ACinCincy

    My daughter, who is 4, is mildly allergic to eggs, but she's never had the flu shot. I'll ask her allergist about it at her next appt.

    In years past, my husband and I, as well as her older sister, would all get the seasonal flu shot to provide her with "herd" immunity.

    This year, there are no vaccines to be had in our area of any kind, which is worrisome to us...

    None of us have ever had any bad side effects to any vax, I might add. Even when I was pregnant with my first, I got the flu vax (and that kiddo has turned out to be a genius, by the way).

    I'll take a 1 in a million chance of a negative outcome from the vax versus 1 in 500 (or greater) if my kid comes down with the real deal.

    November 17, 2009 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. curious

    Plants? I'm o.k. w/eggs, but am heart felt for the allergic.Try some alfalfa, or bamboo. I'm probably over my head. Shoots- try kangaroos, or salmon incubation in a controlled setting. (zoo)? Just throwing ideas out there. We need to conquer this.

    November 18, 2009 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. SUSAN WINTER

    IS IT OK TO HAVE A THE H1N1 FLU SHOT IF YOU HAVE A COLD? I WOULD WHERE A MASK IN PUBLIC. I AM SO NERVOUS ABOUT THIS H1N1 AND I AM HIGH RISK.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Laura

    My 4 1/2 year old son has a severe allergy to eggs and he was just successfully given the seasonal flu vaccine. Because he also has severe asthma, we decided to go for it this year. His allergist administered the vaccine in 4 small doses with significant wait time in between to see if he had any reaction. This was incredibly stressful, but well worth it. If you have a great allergist who you trust, talk to him/her about it. Not sure what we'll do about the H1N1 vaccine – but we are discussing next week at his next appointment.

    November 19, 2009 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jill

    Finnish health minister Dr. Rauni Kilde, SERIOUSLY? the crazy one who spouts ufo government mind control conspiracy theories? ok. BTW all three of my kids were vaccinated with the H1N1 live virus via the nose, older two not one difference, little one had a really runny nose for two days and that was it. (She is 2 1/2) All three are now NOT going to catch the swine flu and be at risk for death due to lung complications!

    November 19, 2009 at 22:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ACinCincy

    Laura, That is a good idea! I didn't realize the vax could be given in small increments. My daughter has never had more than GI issues and minor redness/hives on the skin when she comes in contact with eggs (never anaphlaxis or wheezing, thank God). We'll definitely ask about the smaller dose vax. Thanks!

    November 20, 2009 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Mommy

    My son is also allergic to eggs and has asthma. We went to his pediatrician (Allergist didn't have the shot) to get the shot. He had to wait an hour before being released. He had no side effects. He'll be going in next week for his 2nd dose. If your child has a "severe" allergy (RAST of 5 or 6) I'd recommend having your doc give it in multiple small doses and watch for a reaction.

    December 3, 2009 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. shannon

    I live in Hawaii and have two healthy sons, age 10 and 15. We have not seen a huge amount of H1n1 in our state however this past September there was a spike., We usually travel in the spring to North America and Mexico. I am about to vaccinate both my sons ; but I just feel such apprehension! My pediatrition said " We don't have a crystal ball". I am at this point choosing to believe that the benefits of the vaccine outway the risks of the virus.....however there is so much INFO out there. I just want to keep them safe!

    December 10, 2009 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. london indian escort service

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    July 17, 2010 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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