Flu vaccine: Safe for people with egg allergy?

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Flu vaccine: Safe for people with egg allergy?

Question

Can I get the flu vaccine if I'm allergic to eggs?

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Answer

The flu vaccine is made using eggs. As a result, the vaccine has tiny amounts of egg protein in it. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that if you're allergic to eggs that you can't get a flu shot. In many cases, flu vaccines can be given safely to someone with an egg allergy.

If you've had a reaction to eggs in the past, talk to your doctor before getting a flu vaccination. Your doctor may 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.

Last Updated: 2010-12-08
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