New Flu Vaccine Update That Will Make You Change Your Mind About the Flu Shot

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Egg allergy no longer a reason not to have a flu shot

Still undecided about whether or not to get the flu shot this cold and flu season? Well, here’s a new flu vaccine update that will make you change your mind about the flu shot this year and if it’s right for you and your loved ones.

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It’s not an easy decision for some—whether or not to get the flu shot. There are conflicting stories in social media and online where well-known names advocate not receiving any immunization at all from vaccines for themselves or their children that ranges from common childhood maladies like measles to even the seasonal flu.

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Furthermore, news reports of flu-related deaths do not always have all the details behind the tragedy where it may not be the vaccine or the flu itself, but a fatality where Too Much of These Medications Taken Together for treating a cold or flu resulted in hospitalization or death.

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But one of the long-held recommendations for a number of years by both those pro and con the use of vaccines is that individuals with confirmed egg allergies should not have a flu vaccine because most types of influenza vaccine contain a very small amount of egg protein that could potentially trigger a fatal allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

However, that concern is about to change. According to a recent news release from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology that states the following:

“…an updated practice parameter from the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters stresses that people with egg allergy should receive their yearly flu shot, and that no special precautions are required. The guidelines are published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

“When someone gets a flu shot, health care providers often ask if they are allergic to eggs,” says allergist Matthew Greenhawt, MD, chair of the ACAAI Food Allergy Committee and lead author of the practice parameter. “We want health care providers and people with egg allergy to know there is no need to ask this question anymore, and no need to take any special precautions. The overwhelming evidence since 2011 has shown that a flu shot poses no greater risk to those with egg allergy than those without.”

Their practice parameter update is based on reviews of studies involving thousands of patients with egg allergy who have received a flu shot without allergic reactions – including hundreds with life-threatening egg allergy. They contend that why egg allergy patients need not be concerned is because the influenza vaccine does not contain enough egg protein to cause an allergic reaction—even in patients with a severe egg allergy.

The studies indicate that there is no longer a need to:

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• 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, or even ask about egg allergy before giving the vaccine.

“There are hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths in the United States every year because of the flu, most of which could be prevented with a flu shot,” says allergist John Kelso, MD, ACAAI member and co-author of the practice parameter. “Egg allergy primarily affects young children, who are also particularly vulnerable to the flu. It’s very important that we encourage everyone, including children with egg allergy, to get a flu shot.”

Here’s a YouTube Video from American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology titled “Should I get the flu shot if I have an egg allergy?”

For more helpful advice this flu season, Here’s What You Should Do Each Day When a Cold or Flu Hits -- whether or not you have had the flu vaccine.

References:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology “Egg Allergy and The Flu Vaccine”

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology “Guidelines Say No Special Precautions Needed for Flu Shots for People Allergic to Eggs”

Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology January 2018 Volume 120, Issue 1, Pages 49–52 “Administration of influenza vaccines to egg allergic recipients: A practice parameter update 2017”


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