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Flu Vaccine Safe For People With Egg Allergies

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People who have egg allergies should not worry about getting their flu vaccinations, according to new government guidelines.

Since the flu vaccine contains egg protein, doctors used to advise patients with egg allergies to refrain from getting the shot or only taking it in the presence of an allergy, Today reports. However, a national panel of experts announced on Tuesday that egg allergies should not prevent anyone from getting a flu shot, and that adverse reactions to the vaccine are no more likely among those with allergies compared to everyone else.

The U.S. Preventative Task Force even added that health care professionals don’t need to ask about egg allergies at all when offering the flu shot to patients.

Dr. John Kelso, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego and co-author on the study, said,

It’s been quite a dramatic change. As recently as 10 years ago the thought was, if you had an egg allergy, you should not get the flu shot because it was thought you would have a reaction.

The guidelines come just as flu season is at its peak this year. The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the flu is widespread in 12 states, with 26 more displaying regional activity.

This year’s vaccine is proving to be rather ineffective against one particular influenza strain, but experts say that anyone getting the flu after immunization is bound to have a less severe illness. This is because “you already have the antibodies to it and your body has mounted an immune response before you are exposed,” Kelso said.

“It is estimated that 23,607 deaths occur each year in the United States as a result of influenza, including approximately 124 children,” the study observed. “Not vaccinating carries a risk and that’s clearly greater than any risk from the vaccine.”

The guidelines were published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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