November 10, 2013

Update of Non-IgE Egg Allergy and the Flu Shot

Two years ago I posted about my non-IgE egg allergy symptoms from my first annual flu shot. Symptoms from my second shot in 2012 were not as bad. I got my 2013 shot on Friday Nov. 1st and the symptoms were as bad as in 2011.

As in 2011, beginning 2-3 hours after the shot I got very bothersome sinus pain, some chest pressure, and some achiness. The sinus pain finally cleared up late morning on Monday. Monday afternoon could feel the pressure clearing out and thought that would be the end of it.

However, Tuesday I had very bothersome fatigue and fuzziness around my sinuses. Why did this feel so familiar? Oh yes, it's an egg symptom. I used to get this frequently before I figured out I'm allergic to egg, and I got it from the flu shot in 2011 but not in 2012. When it happens, the fatigue and fuzzy sinuses last about a full day, and the fatigue clears up gradually the next day.

The sinus pain is so bothersome I wonder if I should have gotten a medical exemption instead of beginning the flu shots, but I was concerned about catching the flu from patients and visitors in the hospital I work at. As I mentioned in another post, I wasn't able to get the new egg-free flu shot this year. I hope I can next year!

Julia Baresch

November 3, 2013

Flu shot not dangerous for egg-allergic? Let's think for ourselves.

Introduction post

I saw a news article saying there is now an egg-free flu vaccine. Yay! Now I won't get sick from my non-IgE egg allergy when I get the flu shot required for my job.

Turns out it's not so easy. The distributor of the shot is taking orders but it hasn't shipped yet, and I didn't find a provider who will get it and give it to me. My primary offered to let me order a package of 5-10 vaccines, but it is too expensive.

When I talked to my allergist she said they don't have the egg-free vaccine because the regular vaccine is safe for people, including children, who have severe IgE egg allergy. I said that can't be safe and she said it's been well studied.

I looked it up and found this Medicine Net article that says thousands of egg-allergic children have been studied and tolerated the vaccine with no reaction.
And here is the recently published study referred to in the Medicine Net article. 112 severely egg-allergic children were administered the vaccine and showed no allergic reaction.
This is a time for us patients and those with allergic children to think for ourselves. No matter how many studies there are, I will never believe there is no risk to a person with severe IgE egg allergy. It's common sense! The risk may be rare, as it says in the Medicine Net article. But there is a risk.

If I had severe IgE egg allergy, I would not get the flu shot. But if I did want one for myself or a child with severe egg allergy, I would insist on getting it from an allergist and having them observe us for at least 30 minutes in case of a reaction. If the allergist did not agree to that, I would find one who did.

I have non-IgE egg allergy and do in fact get symptoms from the flu shot. In 2011, I had symptoms for 3 days. In 2012, 1 and 1/2 days. This year is worse than last year. I got the regular shot two days ago and the symptoms haven't cleared up yet. Looks like it will be at least 3 days. I think weather may be a factor. It was damp and cloudy when I got the shot and I get symptoms in that weather anyway.

The allergy establishment does not address non-IgE allergies at all. They didn't acknowledge the existence of them until 2009. They don't teach medical students about non-IgE allergies. MDs, including allergists, are not trained to understand or treat them. Those who are interested in non-IgE allergies learn about it independently.
If I had waited for the allergy establishment to address my symptoms instead of figuring out my own non-IgE food allergies and learning about them from others in the medical field, I would have had a miserable life of illness. How long before they accept and begin using information and diagnostic tools that have been available for decades?

I wish they would at least mention non-IgE allergies in medical school so I could stop explaining the term "non-IgE allergy" to every MD and nurse I talk to. My allergist and my primary doctor are the only ones I can discuss this with.because they are smart, receptive, understand my history and respect what I've learned about my non-IgE allergies.

Thank you,
Julia Baresch