It’s the time of year when people start to think about getting their flu shot. If you have a child with egg allergies you may have been told they shouldn’t get the shot because of a possible reaction to the trace amounts of egg in the vaccine. Not true, says the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Recent research has shown that administration of the flu vaccine is safe for kids with egg allergies.
“Because the influenza vaccine is grown in chicken eggs, it contains trace amounts of egg,” says allergist Michael Foggs, MD, president of the ACAAI. “Despite that, we now know administration is safe, and children with egg allergies should be vaccinated. We recommend that, as with any vaccine, all personnel and facilities administering flu shots have procedures in place for the rare instance of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.”
According to ACAAI, a large number of research studies published over the last several years have shown that thousands of egg allergic children, including those with a severe life-threatening reaction to eating eggs, have received injectable influenza vaccine as a single dose without a reaction.
And though it may seem like it’s too early to start thinking about the flu (summer just ended!), flu season can start as early as October and run all the way to May, usually peaking in the U.S. between December and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The flu is responsible for the hospitalization of more than 21,100 children under the age of five annually. Yet the CDC says nowhere near enough children are vaccinated every year. According to their statistics, only 55 percent of children ages 5 to 17 get the shot.
”Children with asthma really need to get the flu vaccine,” says Foggs. “Asthma sufferers are among the most vulnerable because the flu compromises their airways even further than they already are.”
Although children with asthma are not more likely to get the flu, it can be more serious for asthma sufferers, even if their asthma is mild, or their symptoms are well-controlled. Children with asthma have swollen and sensitive airways, and the flu can cause further inflammation of the airways and lungs. Influenza infection in the lungs can trigger asthma attacks and a worsening of asthma symptoms, and can lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases.
Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)