Flu season, which runs from October to May, results in the sickness of millions of Americans every year. The flu shot aims to prevent the illness, or at the very least, reduce the severity of symptoms in those who get it. While the shot’s effectiveness is never 100 percent, it is the single best form of flu prevention that exists and is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and up.
For people who suffer from an egg allergy, however, getting the flu shot has not been so simple. According to CNN, “[m]ost flu vaccines administered today are manufactured using chicken eggs and contain trace amounts of a protein called ovalbumin.” This can potentially cause a problem for the small percentage of the population with an egg allergy.
But a recent analysis that took into account 28 studies involving thousands of people has determined that the flu shot is, in fact, safe for everyone who has an egg allergy. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Food Allergy Committee, which issued the new guidelines, reported that it is not necessary to:
- See an allergy specialist for the flu shot.
- Give special flu shots that don’t contain traces of egg.
- Require longer-than-normal observation periods after the shot.
- Ask about egg allergy before giving the vaccine.
As always, it is important to prevent spreading the flu by washing hands often, covering your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing, and avoiding those who are exhibiting symptoms. Unfortunately, the flu can spread before symptoms appear, but generally, people can infect others in the first 5-7 days of feeling ill.
Luckily, news of the safety of flu vaccinations for egg allergy sufferers will allow a greater portion of the population to safely protect themselves against the illness.