Getting the Flu Shot with an Egg Allergy: What to Expect

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Sometimes the hardest part about a flu shot is deciding whether or not you or your kiddo will get it this year. Just me? Am I the only one to struggle with this decision every year?

As the mom of an egg-allergic child, I know the process of getting the flu shot is a little more involved than just waltzing over to the Target pharmacy and asking to be stuck with a needle. One day the egg-free flu vaccination will be available for all ages (fingers crossed!), but in the meantime, we will have to do this dance under the watchful eye of our allergist.

Because Z has asthma, his allergist urges us to vaccinate him against the flu for the sake of his lungs. So, we’ve done this enough times that I can give you a good sense of what to expect if you’ve not done this before.

Getting the Flu Shot with an Egg Allergy: What to Expect

This is what you can expect:

Prepare to be there a while. Just like your allergy testing, you’ll be in the allergist’s office long enough to have your cherub tested via skin prick test (and perhaps intradermal as well). There’s a lot of poking and waiting.

After the testing, you wait. And you’ll play games, read books, pull out the contraband electronic entertainment, or do whatever you can to take both of your minds off of the testing.

Based on the test results, you’ll discuss with your allergist the next step. At our appointment last year, Z tested negative on the skin prick, but positive to the intradermal test. In further discussion with our allergist, we mutually determined the actual risk of reaction to the shot was minimal compared to the possible risk to his lungs from coming down with the flu. However, we agreed to break his shot up into four small doses and if there were any hint of a reaction, we would not move further with the remaining doses of the vaccination.

If you move forward with vaccination, your kiddo will receive a shot in multiple doses. Our typical experience has been one vaccination split into two doses, 30 minutes apart for observation. Because of the slight risk of reaction last year, we split it into four doses 30 minutes apart (and that was the first day he ever played Minecraft on our Kindle, the day of the four hour appointment).

You’ll receive instructions on what to expect or what to look for after the vaccination is complete. Be aware, be vigilant, but don’t expect that your child will react to the vaccination.

Overall, it’s a long appointment, so be prepared for that. But also be prepared to discuss frankly your thoughts and concerns with your allergist. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your child, but do be willing to listen to the wisdom and experience presented to you by the pro.

As always, you know your child best, so don’t just take my word for it, be sure to discuss this and all medical concerns with your doctor.

Tiffany Self

Tiffany Self is a wife, mom to "Z", and a lover of words. In an ironic twist, she is an English class dropout who now writes for a living. Tiffany is a freelancer in the Chicago suburbs by way of Seattle and Southern Oregon. She writes about her journey of parenting a child with multiple severe food allergies, asthma, and environmental allergies. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

2 Comments to Getting the Flu Shot with an Egg Allergy: What to Expect

  1. Mary

    It’s my understanding is that there is a shot available in Canada that is safe for those with egg allergies. See Section 3: Precautions:

    http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/naci-ccni/flu-grippe-eng.php

    “NACI has concluded that egg allergic individuals may be vaccinated against influenza using TIV and QIV without a prior influenza vaccine skin test and with the full dose. The vaccine may be given in any settings where vaccines are routinely administered”

    I think it’s been around for years, and you just need to let the nurse know so they give you the one that’s safe for egg allergies. (Though, not having first hand experience, I really don’t know for sure). Thought you might find that interesting…

    • Tiffany Self

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for sharing what is recommended in Canada. I think recommendations in the US vary by medical office. My pediatrician would not give my son a flu shot, instead referring us to the allergist for testing first. It definitely is interesting to see how it’s handled in other places.

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