Monday, October 20, 2008

Should I Give My Egg-Allergic Child the Flu Shot?

By Sean Kelley

It’s nearly flu season and my wife and I are in a quandary about how to protect our severely allergic son, Graeme. With a normal kid (older than 6 months), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the flu shot—with good reason. Each year more than 20,000 kids under 5 are hospitalized due to complications from the flu, according to the CDC.

And Graeme, who has asthma, falls into one of the highest risk groups for flu complications, such as bacterial pneumonia or increased asthma attacks.

But he’s also highly allergic to eggs, which means he isn’t supposed to get the shot. The flu vaccine is grown in fertilized chicken eggs and a tiny bit of egg protein can be left over in the final dose. If you’re severely allergic to eggs, you can suffer a bad reaction to the shot, which is why most allergists and the CDC do not recommend it for anyone with egg allergies. Which leaves us in a pickle. Read More

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