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Is it possible to be allergic to the yolk of an egg but not the egg white?

Is it possible to be allergic to the yolk of an egg but not the egg white?


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At lunch one day, my friend had a hard boiled Easter egg. When he pealed it he squeezed the yolk, or yellow part, of the egg out. I asked him what on earth he was doing and he said, "I'm allergic to the yellow part of the egg not the white." I was very confused by this, he also sad he was allergic to tomatoes but could still eat pizza with sauce on it, apples but only the skins, and some other strange things. I didn't think this was possible at all. Can anyone explain this and tell me if it's even possible to be allergic to one part of an egg and not the other, or is it all in his head. If this is possible, is there an actual name for this condition?


The protein composition of the egg white and egg yolk differ appreciably. Hence, it is plausible for one to countenance symptoms of indigestion when consuming the egg yolk as opposed to the albumen, egg whites. It is important to stress that your friend may only an indigestion towards egg yolks as opposed to an immune response to an antigen.

If we consider the protein family, the egg yolk comprises a family of phosvitins, a group of highly phosphorylated proteins capable of mustering iron and calcium metal cations - serving a role in embryo development.

These are primarily absent from the albumen which comprises (with an unexpected name!) a highest percentage of suspended ovalbumin, ovotransferrin and ovomucoid. As demonstrated by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, it is feasible to suffer an intolerance towards the egg yolk and yet suffer no gastro-enteric indigestion to the egg whites. More information regarding the American College is available from: https://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/types-food-allergy/egg-allergy

Your friend evidently does not suffer a severe anaphylactic shock after consumption of the egg yolks otherwise he/she may be adverse to both the egg whites and egg yolk. In conclusion, it is possible that he/she may simply have a mild intolerance towards certain proteins in the egg yolks.


Egg Allergy and Baked Egg Products

Daniel More, MD, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist. He is an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and currently practices at Central Coast Allergy and Asthma in Salinas, California.

Corinne Savides Happel, MD, is board-certified in allergies/immunology, with a focus on allergic skin disorders. She is a part-time assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

If you're allergic to eggs, you might be wondering: Can I still eat baked goods that contain eggs? And: If I'm allergic to eggs now, is there anything I can do to improve my chances of outgrowing the allergy? Find out the answers to these questions and more, below.


Rabies Vaccine and Egg Allergies

Rabies is a dangerous virus transmitted through bites from infected animals. Once symptoms begin, the disease is almost always fatal.

There are various different vaccines on the market for rabies that can be administered after you've been exposed to the virus. However, most of the vaccines are cultured in chicken embryos and aren't considered safe for people who have severe egg allergies.

Fortunately, there is one option for the egg-allergic: Imovax, which is not cultured in chick embryos.  


What do I Eat for Breakfast?

Anything you like! Really: there’s absolutely no reason why breakfast has to be chosen from some totally arbitrary list of “breakfast foods.” Why are eggs “breakfasty” but tuna isn’t? There’s no real reason for it, so stop letting yourself be limited by these meaningless categories.

Just think of breakfast as a meal like any other meal: meat and vegetables, maybe with some fruit or nuts thrown in on the side. Breakfast is not a magic exception because it’s the first meal of the day. If you’re not up for a lot of cooking, leftovers make a fast and convenient morning meal – what about some cold slices of roast beef with an apple and a smear of almond butter? Delicious, nutritious, and no cooking required.

If you’re not quite willing to let go of the “breakfast food” mold quite yet, what about…

  • Sausages with some fried onions and mushrooms
  • A breakfast skillet with ham and vegetables
  • Bacon with spinach and mushrooms sauteed in the bacon fat
  • A quick smoothie just to tide you over until lunchtime
  • Smoked salmon with cucumber slices
  • Nothing at all you could always go the intermittent fasting route and just wait until noon to start eating.

Flu Vaccine and People with Egg Allergies

CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have not changed their recommendations regarding egg allergy and receipt of influenza (flu) vaccines. The recommendations remain the same as those recommended for the 2018-2019 season. Based on those recommendations, people with egg allergies no longer need to be observed for an allergic reaction for 30 minutes after receiving a flu vaccine. People with a history of egg allergy of any severity should receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate influenza vaccine. Those who have a history of severe allergic reaction to egg (i.e., any symptom other than hives) should be vaccinated in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting (including but not necessarily limited to hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices), under the supervision of a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.

Most flu shots and the nasal spray flu vaccine are manufactured using egg-based technology. Because of this, they contain a small amount of egg proteins, such as ovalbumin. However, studies that have examined the use of both the nasal spray vaccine and flu shots in egg-allergic and non-egg-allergic patients indicate that severe allergic reactions in people with egg allergies are unlikely. A recent CDC study found the rate of anaphylaxis after all vaccines is 1.31 per one million vaccine doses given.

For the 2020-2021 flu season, there are two vaccines licensed for use that are manufactured without the use of eggs and are considered egg-free:

Recommendations for flu vaccination of persons with egg allergy have not changed since the 2018-2019 flu season. CDC recommends:

  • Persons with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive flu vaccine. Any licensed and recommended flu vaccine (i.e., any form of IIV or RIV) that is otherwise appropriate for the recipient&rsquos age and health status may be used.
  • Persons who report having had reactions to egg involving symptoms other than hives, such as angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis or who required epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention, may similarly receive any licensed and recommended flu vaccine (i.e., any form of IIV or RIV) that is otherwise appropriate for the recipient&rsquos age and health status. The selected vaccine should be administered in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting (including, but not necessarily limited to hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices). Vaccine administration should be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.
  • A previous severe allergic reaction to flu vaccine, regardless of the component suspected of being responsible for the reaction, is a contraindication to future receipt of the vaccine.

Questions & Answers:

What is considered an egg allergy? What are the signs and symptoms of an egg allergic reaction?

Persons who are able to eat lightly cooked egg (e.g., scrambled egg) without a reaction are unlikely to be allergic. Egg-allergic persons might tolerate egg in baked products (e.g., bread or cake). Tolerance to egg-containing foods does not exclude the possibility of egg allergy. Egg allergy can be confirmed by a consistent medical history of adverse reactions to eggs and egg-containing foods, plus skin or blood testing for immunoglobulin E directed against egg proteins.

How common is egg allergy in children and adults?

Egg allergy affects about 1.3 % of all children and 0.2 % of all adults.

What vaccine should I get if I am egg allergic, but I can eat lightly cooked eggs?

If you are able to eat lightly cooked egg (e.g., scrambled egg) without reaction, you are unlikely to have an egg allergy and can get any licensed flu vaccine (i.e., any form of IIV, LAIV, or RIV) that is otherwise appropriate for your age and health status.

What flu vaccine should I get if I get hives after eating egg-containing foods?

If you are someone with a history of egg allergy, who has experienced only hives after exposure to egg, you can get any licensed flu vaccine (i.e., any form of IIV, LAIV, or RIV) that is otherwise appropriate for your age and health.

What kind of flu vaccine should I get if I have more serious reactions to eating eggs or egg-containing foods like cardiovascular changes or a reaction requiring epinephrine?

If you are someone who has more serious reactions to eating eggs or egg-containing foods, like angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis or who required epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention, you can get any licensed flu vaccine (i.e., any form of IIV, LAIV, or RIV) that is otherwise appropriate for your age and health status, but the vaccine should be given in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting (including but not necessarily limited to hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices), under the supervision of a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.

Are there still people with egg allergies who should not get flu vaccine?

People with egg allergy can receive flu vaccines according to the recommendations above. A person who has previously experienced a severe allergic reaction to flu vaccine, regardless of the component suspected of being responsible for the reaction, should not get a flu vaccine again.

Why do flu vaccines contain egg protein?

Most flu vaccines today are produced using an egg-based manufacturing process and thus contain a small amount of egg protein called ovalbumin.

For the 2019-2020 flu season, there are two vaccines licensed for use that are manufactured without the use of eggs and are considered egg-free:

  • Flublok Quadrivalent (licensed for use in adults 18 years and older)
  • Flucelvax Quadrivalent (licensed for use in people 4 years and older)

How much egg protein is in flu vaccine?

While not all manufacturers disclose the amount of ovalbumin in their vaccines, those that did from 2011&ndash12 through 2014&ndash15 reported maximum amounts of &le1 µg/0.5 mL dose for flu shots and 0.24 µg/0.2 mL dose for the nasal spray vaccine. Recombinant vaccine (Flublok Quadrivalent) and cell-based vaccine (Flucelvax Quadrivalent) are the only vaccines currently available that are completely egg free.

Can egg protein in flu vaccine cause allergic reactions in persons with a history of egg allergy?

Yes, allergic reactions can happen, but they occur very rarely with the flu vaccines available in the United States today. Occasional cases of anaphylaxis, a severe life-threatening reaction that involves multiple organ systems and can progress rapidly, in egg-allergic persons have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after administration of flu vaccine. Flu vaccines contain various components that may cause allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. In a Vaccine Safety Datalink study, there were 10 cases of anaphylaxis after more than 7.4 million doses of inactivated flu vaccine, trivalent (IIV3) given without other vaccines, (rate of 1.35 per one million doses). Most of these cases of anaphylaxis were not related to the egg protein present in the vaccine. CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices continue to review available data regarding anaphylaxis cases following flu vaccines.

How long after flu vaccination does a reaction occur in persons with a history of egg allergy?

Allergic reactions can begin very soon after vaccination. However, the onset of symptoms is sometimes delayed. In a Vaccine Safety Datalink study of more than 25.1 million doses of vaccines of various types given to children and adults over 3 years, only 33 people had anaphylaxis. Of patients with a documented time to onset of symptoms, eight cases had onset within 30 minutes of vaccination, while in another 21 cases, symptoms were delayed more than 30 minutes following vaccination, including one case with symptom onset on the following day.

Severe allergic reactions to vaccines, although rare, can occur at any time, despite a recipient&rsquos allergy history. Therefore, all vaccine providers should be familiar with the office emergency plan, and be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. For persons who report a history of egg allergy, ACIP recommends the following (based upon the recipient&rsquos previous symptoms after exposure to egg):


Allergies Can Be So Specific That a Person Can React to a Egg’s Yolk But Not Its Whites

Just because you're allergic to one food stuff, like Nile perch, doesn't mean you're allergic to every fish in the sea (or lake or stream or river or pond). New research finds further evidence that food allergies can be quite specific, triggered by a single species rather than entire genre such as "seafood." In some cases, other studies found, selecting only certain components of a single food—egg yolk but not egg white, for example—can mean the difference between enjoying a Sunday morning omelette or breaking out in an allergic reaction.

To determine which parts of a food are fine to eat and which parts will actually cause a reaction, allergists perform oral food challenges. These involve feeding a patient tiny amounts of the suspected allergenic food in increasing doses.

Allergist Joyce C. Rabbat confirms, writing, "Certain proteins of a food are more allergenic (i.e., more likely to cause an allergic reaction) than other proteins of the same food."

Detailed biochemical analyses can also shed light on specific allergy triggers. In Europe, researchers explored the line between allergic and not by recruiting two dozen people with a confirmed allergy to Nile perch. Their studied was inspired by a Norwegian chef who had suddenly developed an allergy to Nile perch after consuming salmon (researchers call this a "cross allergy," or antibodies produced in reaction to one food that suddenly begin to react with a different but similar food), but did not have any problems with other fish, like cod. They paired serums, which contain antibodies, from the test subjects with various proteins extracted from the fish to see which components exactly triggered their allergic reactions. They found that not everyone experienced an allergic reaction to both perch and cod, although conventional allergy tests likely would have indicated those patients were allergic to fish as a whole. 

"The tests that are currently used are very non-specific," the researchers concluded. "For some people who suffer from fish allergies there may be hope of finding a fish that they can tolerate if we managed to make the relevant tests suitable for mass implementation and use them in allergy diagnostics."


What to know about egg intolerance

A person who has an egg intolerance is unable to digest eggs. This inability can result in various symptoms, including bloating, cramps, nausea, or diarrhea.

Although an egg intolerance is not typically dangerous, it can be uncomfortable and bothersome.

If a person has an egg intolerance, they may need to avoid eating eggs or only consume small amounts. However, egg alternatives are available to help people find a replacement.

This article will cover the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for an egg intolerance. It will also provide information for egg alternatives, as well as ingredients that a person should avoid.

Share on Pinterest A person with an egg intolerance may experience nausea, bloating, and stomach cramps.

Symptoms of an egg intolerance may include:

According to experts, symptoms of food allergies and intolerances are different.

Egg intolerance is not life threatening. However, a severe food allergy can be.

It is important to see a doctor if a person thinks they may have an egg allergy.

If someone experiences symptoms of anaphylactic shock, they should seek emergency medical help.

Symptoms of anaphylactic shock may include:

An egg intolerance and an egg allergy are different conditions.

An egg intolerance involves the digestive system, whereas an egg allergy involves the immune system.

Egg intolerance

Food intolerance happens when the body is unable to digest certain components in food.

People who have an egg intolerance may not be able to digest the egg whites or yolks, or both.

With an intolerance, a person may experience digestive problems hours after consuming the offending food item. While the symptoms may be uncomfortable, they are not typically dangerous.

People may not know they have an egg intolerance because their symptoms may not appear right after eating eggs. Or, they may not get any symptoms at all when they eat small amounts of egg.

Egg allergy

With an egg allergy, a person’s immune system treats eggs as an invader. As a result, it releases powerful chemicals when the body comes into contact with eggs.

An egg allergy can cause severe and sometimes life threatening symptoms. Symptoms of an egg allergy can appear within half an hour of exposure.

With an allergy, a person may experience a reaction after consuming small amounts of egg. They may also have a reaction from touching eggs or inhaling particles in the air.

There are currently no approved tests for egg intolerance. While tests can diagnose egg allergies, it is more difficult to diagnose egg intolerances.

A person may be able to identify whether they have an egg intolerance by keeping a food diary.

A food diary can include information such as:

  • everything a person eats and drinks
  • the date, time, and type of digestive problems they experience
  • any medications they take

Keeping a diary for several days or weeks enables a person to look for a connection between specific foods and symptoms.

If someone is concerned that they have an egg intolerance, they may wish to avoid eggs entirely for a while and see if the symptoms go away. If symptoms return after consuming eggs, it may indicate that they have an intolerance.

Keeping a food diary may have other benefits as well.

Some evidence suggests that people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may benefit from avoiding certain foods if they are intolerant to them.


Respiratory Symptoms

Adults with egg allergies may experience a variety of respiratory symptoms, including hay fever and asthma upon breathing powdered egg ingredients. Nasal symptoms may include itchy, watery eyes, runny or stuffy nose, and headache or sinus pressure. You may also experience wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing and other asthma symptoms. Asthma may require immediate intervention because mild symptoms of wheezing can quickly progress to severe breathlessness.


Luke Coutinho advised everyone to eat for their cells, body and bio-individuality. Here's another healthy snack he advised the followers to have.

Speaking about the fat content of eggs, she adds, "Egg yolks do have fat. 1 egg has about 180 mg of cholesterol. This is the reason they have been demonised for more than 2 decades. However, researchers have recently concluded that dietary cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern as it's a tiny fraction of the cholesterol produced by our liver."

Photo Credit: iStock
Eggs should be cooked in less fat

Hence, the cholesterol in eggs might not necessarily increase bad cholesterol levels in the body. "It is rather trans-fat and excess refined sugar which can lead to increase in bad cholesterol," says Pooja while referring to the fact 1 whole egg is healthy as far as it is cooked healthily, with less amounts of fat.

"Eating eggs will not be healthy if you fry them in butter. Weight watchers can opt for a mid-way. If cooking more than 1 egg, they can omit 1 or more yolks and retain a few. This way, you get the nutrients from yolk without piling on too much fat and calories," she explains.


Lifestyle changes, diet and caution

If eggs are your favorite, it is sad but true that you have to eliminate them from your daily diet. In order to avoid the adverse effects of egg allergy, it is always better to be preventive. The slightest change in your lifestyle can save you from visiting doctor’s clinic. It is indispensable for everyone who is allergic to eggs to know the products that contain egg as an ingredient so as to avoid them.

Egg containing products include

  1. Eggnog
  2. Albumin
  3. Dried egg, powdered egg or egg solids
  4. Mayonnaise
  5. Lysozyme
  6. Ovalbumin
  7. Meringue powder
  8. Surimi
  9. Lecithin
  10. Baked goods
  11. Macaroni
  12. Marshmallows
  13. Pasta
  14. Nougat

While you are purchasing any product, you should maintain a high level of caution because food labeling is not stringent in every country. Patinets with egg allergy should avoid the food with labels that say “may contain” eggs.

Some vaccines such as MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella) contains egg protein but the American Academy of Pediatrics has acknowledged that it is absolutely safe to administer this vaccine to patients with egg allergy.

People with egg allergy can safely consume other food products that have no eggs or egg proteins. You can replenish the deficiency by having other foods that are equal on nutrition value with a prior consultation with your doctor or dietician.