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