TUESDAY, Dec. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- It's safe for people with an egg allergy to get a flu shot, says a leading U.S. allergists' group.
Doctors no longer need to question patients about egg allergy before giving the vaccine, according to an updated guideline from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
"When someone gets a flu shot, health care providers often ask if they are allergic to eggs," said guideline lead author Dr. Matthew Greenhawt.
"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," said Greenhawt, chair of the college's food allergy committee.
The guideline is consistent with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The "overwhelming evidence" since 2011 has shown that a flu shot poses no greater risk to someone with egg allergy than someone without, Greenhawt said in a news release from the medical group.
The flu vaccine does not contain enough egg protein to cause an allergic reaction, even in people with severe egg allergy, he and his colleagues said.
That means patients don't need to see an allergist to get the flu shot, or require a longer-than-usual observation period after receiving the injection.
"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," said guideline co-author Dr. John Kelso.
"Egg allergy primarily affects young children, who are also particularly vulnerable to the flu," Kelso added. "It's very important that we encourage everyone, including children with egg allergy, to get a flu shot."
The guideline was published Dec. 19 in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccination, with rare exceptions, according to the CDC.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the seasonal flu shot.
SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, Dec. 19, 2017