Precautions for Egg Allergy in Preschool?
Q. I work in a preschool where there is a child with a history of an anaphylactic allergy to eggs. Given this child’s allergy, our preschool has decided to ban other children from bringing any food containing eggs. However, there are times when the other children might bring baked goods with eggs in the ingredient list. We clean all of the eating surfaces after every meal. Would this child’s egg allergy worsen with exposure to other children eating baked goods containing egg? Are we doing the right things to protect this child, and at the same time, are all of our precautions necessary?
A. While it is not uncommon for children to be allergic to hen’s egg, it is unlikely that casual exposure as you described would cause a reaction. In most cases it is necessary for someone to actually eat egg protein to have a reaction. If the mother of this child insists that such exposure would place her child at risk, I would ask that the child be evaluated by an allergist who can determine precisely how sensitive the child actually is. This would most likely require either an oral challenge with egg, or at the very least a proximity challenge in which the child is exposed to egg on a surface, in the air or whatever other exposure the mother is concerned about. Without that information it is impossible to accommodate her concerns or the child’s health issue.