Is my baby allergic to eggs? The verdict.

The emergency number on speed dial, I attempted to give the baby eggs. Or something with egg in it to see his reaction to it. We needed this terrifying initiation to qualify for MMR vaccine. I did not have the guts to give him whole eggs (yet) but instead reached out for a piece of brownie baked by Pristine.

It has eggs in it and IF the he reacts to it, at least it will not be that bad because it’s not really egg-egg. It’s gooey chocolatey stuff with eggs in it. He crushed the piece of brownie with his little hands, slathered it around his mouth, tilted his head and…

Nothing happened!! For the first heart-stopping moments, I just looked at him, stunned. No rashes! I’m almost teary. No hives, no screaming, no nothing. Just a baby enjoying his morsel of brownie!

Do you know what this means? It means MORE variety of food for him! It means he can have my favorite Japanese egg dish of sweet rolled eggs (tamagoyaki), endless combination of omelettes, cookies, pastries. Eggnog! It means not freaking out to check each and every ingredient and being suspecting even after doing so. Eggs just happen to be in so many sorts of food from muffins to meatloaf!

Now that I know he can tolerate eggs? It means peace of mind and a little sanity.

* My other child Pristine cannot even touch raw eggs without having allergic reactions until now (she’s 9 next month). It’s getting better though as she is able to tolerate small amounts of food with egg in it. She has not eaten whole eggs in her entire life (yet) and we’re still dealing with the stigma of food allergies from people (even from blood relatives!) who don’t understand that allergies are real.

MMR vaccine and egg allergy

Baby Ben was up for his MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine on the 31st October, a few days after he turned one year old but I totally forgot about it. Off I went to the health center yesterday hopeful of being accepted as a walk-in patient (non-appointment) but was told I need to see the nurse in the pedia section to see if they accept walk-ins. This was after I spent 30 minutes in the reception queue – watching the ladies attend to the patients as well as to their BlackBerrys, taking their own sweet time, waiting customers be damned.

The nurse asked me to take an appointment for the next day so I have to go back to the reception again and wait again for my appointment paper. So much time wasted but lesson learned: when you have an appointment with the government clinics/hospitals here, DON’T ever forget your appointments!

That ‘next day’ was today. Don’t worry I did not forget! We were even very early there.

Nurse: Before I give the MMR vaccine, I’d like to ask you a question: Is the child allergic to eggs?

Me: I think so. Actually, I don’t know but I think so.

Nurse face puzzled.

Me: You see, his older sister is allergic to eggs so I assumed he would be too so I avoided everything and anything with eggs in it.

Nurse: So no cookies or cakes? He turned one, right?

I can read that her face says, “What kind of mother are you? No bite of the birthday cake!?”

Me: No, nothing with eggs in it.

Nurse: I’m afraid I have to be honest with you – without knowing if the baby’s allergic reaction to eggs, it’s risky to administer the MMR vaccine. Some babies with allergies might have some reaction to the vaccine because of the egg component present in it. If the allergy to eggs is extreme, causing breathing difficulties (anaphylactic), MMR vaccine will be delayed until he outgrows the allergy.

The preparation for the measles vaccine involves incubating the virus in cell cultures which contain chicken cells derived from the egg. If your child has had a severe allergic reaction to eating egg before, let your doctor or nurse know well in advance. To be on the safe side, they may suggest your child is given the vaccine in the paediatric ward of your local hospital so he can be watched carefully.

She continues: “I advise you to go back home and give him something with egg and see his reaction to it and then come back here. Oh mom, just in case anything frightening really happens, you know the emergency number, right?”

So there goes another wasted time at the clinic and I’m right here very nervous about giving him anything with eggs in it. The memories of that day 8 years ago when I ran to the emergency when Pristine had allergic reaction to it is still fresh in my mind!