What is an allergy to chicken egg and / or soy?
Food allergy means that an abnormal reaction of the immune system occurs in the body after consuming a certain food. In the case of chicken protein allergy, such a reaction occurs after eating food that contains chicken protein. In the case of a soy allergy, this happens after consuming food containing soy protein. In addition to cow’s milk allergy, chicken egg allergy and soy allergy are among the most common food allergies that sometimes occur at infant age.
A child can be allergic to various foods and sometimes several foods at the same time. The way the allergy expresses itself does not depend on the food. In this article about chicken egg and soy you can also find general information about other allergies, such as fish or wheat. For specific advice, we refer you to your doctor or dietician.
Symptoms allergy to chicken egg and / or soy
An allergy to chicken protein or soy protein can express itself in eczema ( constitutional eczema ). However, it can also trigger an anaphylactic reaction. This is a severe allergic reaction, whereby swelling of the skin, hives, shortness of breath and eventually even an allergic shock can occur. Fortunately this is very rare.
Why one child reacts with eczema and the other with such a severe anaphylactic reaction is unknown. Some children may also react with local skin swelling when it comes into contact with a food containing chicken egg or soy, or with spitting and abdominal pain after eating an egg or soy-containing food.
As a parent you can recognize a chicken egg allergy or soy allergy because the child responds after eating chicken egg or soy. However, this is not always clear in practice, because many foods contain small amounts of chicken egg or soy. Important triggers of chicken egg allergy are cake, cake and mayonnaise. Soy is often in biscuits and bags of sauce powder, and in large quantities in tofu and soy sauce. An additional problem is that with eczema the reaction often occurs late and slowly on the basis of daily unconsciously eaten traces of chicken egg or soy.
How does an allergy to chicken egg and / or soy arise?
Allergic reaction With most children, chicken egg protein or soy protein causes no complaints. In a number of children, however, the immune system responds to these pieces of protein. Chicken egg protein can also be found in both the yolk and the white of the egg (protein refers to the general name for certain nutrients in food, in addition to carbohydrate and fat). When the immune system of these allergic children first notices the chicken egg protein or soy protein, it starts producing allergic antibodies. The child does not notice this.
The next time the immune system comes into contact with the chicken egg protein or soy protein, it is recognized and linked to the antibodies. This coupling causes the immune cell to which the antibodies are attached, the so-called mast cell, to break open. The content of these mast cells, mainly histamine, ends up in the blood and in the mucous membranes of the lungs, nose and intestines. Histamine is the substance that is responsible for the symptoms that can occur with chicken egg allergy and soy allergy.
Atopic constitution With chicken egg allergy and soy allergy, the genetic predisposition to react allergically plays an important role. This is called atopic constitution. In addition to food allergies, these children may also be confronted with allergic nose complaints, hay fever , asthma and eczema ( constitutional eczema or dewworm). If a child has a father and / or mother and / or an older brother or sister with food allergies or asthma, it is more likely that this child will have an atopic constitution at birth. This chance increases as more family members have (had) such complaints.
Providing factors Not every child with an atopic constitution develops a chicken egg allergy or soy allergy. In part, this is caused by precautionary measures that parents take, in particular giving foods containing egg or soy only later in life. You can read more about this later. In addition, triggering factors play a role. This means that the allergy can occur at a time when the intestines are not in optimum condition. Like after a big stomach flu. The intestines are then extra permeable to pieces of protein, which increases the chance that the immune system will react in the blood.
It is not always clear when a child came into contact with chicken egg or soy for the very first time. Certain chicken egg proteins and soy proteins are probably passed on through breast milk.
Is it serious and what can you expect?
Allergies to chicken egg protein and soy protein can, as stated, express themselves in various ways. If there is mild eczema and the child responds well to a chicken egg-free or soy-free diet, the disease is not serious, rather difficult. However, if an anaphylactic reaction has occurred, there is a good chance that this will happen again when chicken egg or soy is eaten again. This often causes anxiety and various practical problems. In the meantime, however, the child is not sick, as long as it does not come into contact with chicken egg or soy.
Vaccinations It has recently been shown that children who are hypersensitive to chicken egg may follow the normal vaccination program. The vaccination against mumps, measles and rubella does not pose any danger to the health of children with chicken egg allergy. Children with a soy allergy may also follow the normal vaccination program.
Course Most children will grow over their chicken egg allergy or soy allergy by the age of two, but the allergy can also persist for life. This cannot be predicted at the first onset of complaints.
Anaphylactic reaction Sometimes someone reacts so strongly to chicken protein and soy that an anaphylactic reaction occurs. This is fortunately rare. An anaphylactic reaction occurs quickly (within minutes to an hour) after eating a nutrient with chicken protein and soy and may include:
- Red face
- Warm feeling
- Itching around or in the mouth
- Itching of the palms or soles of the feet
- Watery eyes, sneezing and / or runny nose
- Humps: itchy red bumps that together form large bumps
- Swelling of tongue, lips and eyelids
- Difficulty swallowing and talking due to swelling of tongue and throat
- Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea
- Shortness of breath with squeaking, an asthma attack
- Dizziness, tendency to faint and ultimately unconsciousness
When to the doctor?
Directly to the doctor You must go to the doctor directly with your child if:
- your child becomes very drowsy or loses consciousness (calling 112)
- immediately after eating your baby suddenly behaves very anxious and restless (112 calls)
- your child’s eyelids and / or lips swell and your child becomes short of breath and starts to drool (112 bubbles)
- pull in the skin above and below the ribs of your child during inhalation
- your child makes a whooping and squeaking noise while breathing
- your child has diarrhea and has been drinking less than half the usual for more than a day
- your child has other symptoms that you are seriously concerned about
Make an appointment with your doctor If your child has eczema that you suspect is triggered by food, it makes sense to go to the doctor or discuss it with the doctor at the clinic. The doctor can do blood tests for the existence of an allergy to certain foods. You may be referred to a specialist for special skin tests to detect an allergy.
What can you do about it yourself?
If chicken egg or soy causes an allergy, it must be excluded from the diet, that is to say the spores. You can usually do this yourself on the basis of the labels. Sometimes this requires the help of a dietitian, because unfortunately there are still products with incorrect, incomplete or no reports at all. You can request label aids and lists from your doctor, dietician or food allergy foundation to help you choose safe foods. In addition, so-called brand article lists (Alba lists) are available through the Voedingscentrum. It is important that you regularly check whether the lists have been adjusted or updated. That way you stay up-to-date.
If your child already has a chicken egg allergy or soy allergy, while only breastfeeding, it makes sense to go on a diet as a mother. It is wise to ask for guidance from a dietician. He or she can also advise which supplementary feeding your child can safely start. Breast milk replacement infant formula is chicken egg and soy free. This does not apply to all kinds of cookies, jars and so on.
General advice and precautions
Good nutrition In children with a greater chance of developing food allergy, in other words children with an atopic constitution, complaints can sometimes be prevented by choosing the right diet. This is especially important in the first six months, because the intestine then allows many pieces of protein to pass through that can trigger an allergic reaction. The advice given on the correct diet for children with an atopic constitution varies. This is the result of the many research that is being done into it and the different results that are achieved with it. It may therefore be that another parent has received different advice elsewhere than you. It is important that you try to adhere to one advice. When you try different things at the same time or shortly after each other, it is ultimately no longer clear which measure has had what effect. This can cause your child to end up with more dietary restrictions than is actually necessary.
Breastfeeding Children with at least one other family member suffering from manifestations of atopic syndrome (asthma, food hypersensitivity, allergic nose problems, hay fever or constitutional eczema) should only be breastfed for six months. The mother can eat and drink anything. Research has shown that an allergen-free diet of the mother almost never prevents a food allergy in the child. Once an allergy has developed, a diet with the nursing mother often has a beneficial effect.
Bottle feeding If there is no cow’s milk allergy, no special hypoallergenic bottle feeding needs to be used. Infant food contains no chicken egg or soy. If your child does have a cow’s milk allergy, you can switch to hypoallergenic infant formula. This diet also contains no chicken egg or soy. For children with cow’s milk allergy, it is certainly unwise to switch to infant formula based on soy. These children have a greater chance of developing a soy allergy, with all the limitations that this entails.
Additional feeding In children of whom at least one family member has a severe form of allergy, it is advisable to start supplementary feeding only after six months. The introduction of fruit and vegetables must be done slowly and step by step. The first day one teaspoon, the following days a few teaspoons and so on. Are you going to give a new kind of fruit or vegetables, then start again with one teaspoon, possibly supplemented with fruit or vegetables that your child already knows. In this way it can be checked per food item whether this causes an allergy in your child. It is best to give products that cause allergies to many people after the third birthday. These are mainly nuts, peanuts, seeds, seeds, fish, crustaceans and shellfish.
Treats In preschools and daycare centers, it is customary to treat old children. This can cause problems for allergic children. It is useful if you inform the management of your child’s allergy. A list of what it can and cannot have is a useful tool here. You can ask the parents of other children to take your child’s allergy into account when choosing their treat. This can be done very well by writing a letter and possibly making suggestions for treats that your child may have. In the event that one of the parents forgets, you can give the management a tin with treats that your child can have. In the case of a wrong treat, your child can then choose some treats from his own drum.
Eating out In many cases, children grow over their chicken egg allergy or soy allergy. As long as this is not yet the case, you must prevent the child from getting chicken egg or soy. When you go out for dinner with a young toddler, it is best to bring a bottle or snack for the child.
There are many restaurants in the Netherlands that take allergic children into account. In the brochure ‘know what you eat’ from the Food Allergy Foundation the names of these restaurants are mentioned.