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Allergic reactions during pregnancy 
21st-Apr-2014 02:08 am [allergies]
Lady of Shalott
I've had an allergy to egg whites since I was born. I am not sure about yolks, but I avoid that as well. Typical reactions include itchy mouth, hives and also anaphylaxis. My throat can get tight, eyes can swell, etc.

Today during Easter dinner, I had a pretty bad reaction given the amount of food I ate. What happened was my boyfriend's cousin made a cake. My boyfriend cut a slice for himself and asked me if I wanted to eat a little bit of the flower decoration, since I knew I couldn't eat the actual cake part. I said ok and took a teeny, tiny bite. About 30 seconds later, the tip of my tongue started feeling itchy. Then my whole mouth and my face. I didn't get hives as far as I knew, but I was itchy around my cheeks and jaw and was scratching.

I asked the cousin if the flowers were made with eggs. She said no, they were made with merengue powder. I told her that merengue is egg whites. I started feeling better 20-30 minutes later, at least.

I'm normally very, very careful with food other people have cooked and almost always ask what is in things, but I've never come across cake decorations made with merengue. Usually it's fondant or regular icing, which I can eat. Plus, his entire family knows I am allergic to eggs and always tell me in advance what does and doesn't have eggs in it.

From what I looked up, skin reactions are ok but anaphylaxis can harm the baby. Has anyone had really bad reactions to things and if so, what did you do about it? I have an OB appointment on Thursday and I am going to tell him what happened and ask him what I can do in case this happens again.
Comments 
21st-Apr-2014 07:49 am (UTC)
I have a similar reaction to peanuts and managed to peanut myself when I was pregnant. I took the appropriate drugs after making myself vomit and mentioned it to my doctor the next day. My son is now in the lounge-room watching TV. I ended up with hives, runny eyes and nose and and an itchy mouth as well as some minor swelling in my face.
21st-Apr-2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
It's really unpleasant, isn't it?

21st-Apr-2014 10:36 am (UTC)
I think if you are feeling okay, then likely the baby is okay too. The concern for the baby would be a lack of oxygen from lowered blood flow to the placenta from what I can tell... and before that would get to a critical point, you would be unconscious. If you didn't lose consciousness then I wouldn't worry too much.

Still, that is pretty scary! I'm glad you're okay!
21st-Apr-2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
I've had anaphylaxis before. I've never been unconscious. I've had my throat tighten to the point where it was hard to breathe, though.

I'm going to check into getting an epi-pen, just in case.

It's usually really easy for me to avoid egg whites but every so often. something happens where someone either says: "no this doesn't have egg" and it turns out it does, or I eat something with eggs in it by accident.
21st-Apr-2014 12:52 pm (UTC)
If you don't already have epi-pens, that would be really all you can do besides avoiding allergy foods. The baby is fine as long as you don't go into anaphylaxis. Also, you can check with your doctor, but I was told Benadryl was fine to take during pregnancy because I have allergies as well. I don't want to be doom and gloom, but after I had my son, my current allergies got worse and I developed oral allergy syndrome(can't eat foods that are in certain tree families, like apples, chicory root because of being allergic to birch trees). Something to keep an eye on, but I'm sure I'm just that one weirdo out of the bunch.
21st-Apr-2014 03:03 pm (UTC)
Absolutely. I don't have epi pens because I never thought my allergy was that serious, but I guess it is. And it's better to be safe than sorry. I'm also allergic to other things. Sulfa meds, Cipro, and vaccines incubated in chicken eggs like MMR.

My boyfriend is allergic to nuts and he doesn't consider himself very allergic, but he does have an epi pen in case. I will talk to my OB about getting some. He's also allergic to pollen/dander/animals.

Does your son have any allergies?

I guess my child has a good chance of developing allergies but only time will tell.
21st-Apr-2014 03:50 pm (UTC)
I do allergy shots at home so I'm required to have epi pens. I got the new Auvi-Q pens because they are much smaller and actually talk you through the procedure, which is helpful if I can't do it myself. As my ENT put it, he never let's someone who has as many allergies as I do go without the epi pens because so far while all my reactions have been mild or GI based, there's always that one chance it could be worse.
My son has seasonal allergies, and I believe mold, and dust mites as when we discontinued his Zyrtec the first winter following the first summer he was on it, he still had some symptoms and treating a toddler with Benadryl has been like playing Russian roulette, you don't know if it will make him tired or go absolutely off the wall nuts. His dad has mild seasonal allergies, and as you probably know, the risk of allergies goes up if one or both parents have them. My ENT has told me that if his allergies get worse while on Zyrtec or he begins having asthma involvement more frequently, then he would look at scratch testing around 4 or 5 because he doesn't let kids under 6 start allergy shots without very thorough testing and documented instances of allergies getting worse. Because I have allergies, I know that he needs to be bathed after playing outside, his pillows are encased in dust mite proof covers, his mattress as well, and I make sure we don't miss a dose of his Zyrtec.
21st-Apr-2014 04:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's pretty sound advice. It only takes one time to have a horrible reaction. I'll see if I can get a script for an epipen.

I've told my boyfriend to try Claritin or something non-drowsy when his allergies get bad, but he's stubborn. Why suffer when you don't have to?a

I know I am going to have to really careful when it comes to introducing new foods in case baby has food allergies.
21st-Apr-2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
I am another weirdo! I have OAS too, and all my allergies have gotten worse after each pregnancy.
21st-Apr-2014 07:32 pm (UTC)
I am another weirdo! I have OAS too, and all my allergies have gotten worse after each pregnancy.
21st-Apr-2014 02:58 pm (UTC)
A note on merengue powder- royal icing- the hard shiny kind is generally always made with egg whites/merengue
21st-Apr-2014 03:01 pm (UTC)
As soon as she told me it was meringue, I knew instantly that it was egg whites. I try to be educated and learn where eggs typically are. Souffles, omelettes, etc. But I never came across cake decorations with eggs whites before.

At least the reaction wasn't horrible because I took a teeny tiny bite. I'd hate to think what would happen if I ate the whole flower :/
21st-Apr-2014 05:59 pm (UTC)
My understanding is that the real danger to the baby is if you have anaphylaxis and can't breathe enough to get adequate oxygen for you and baby. I'm sure that, since this reaction happened and didn't get worse, the baby is ok! That said, there are a couple of things I wanted to mention:

- Allergic reactions can come back, I think it's within 48 hours. (Not sure if it's limited to anaphylactic reactions, but that is definitely a possibility.) So keep an eye on that.

- Symptoms like yours warrant carrying an Epi-Pen at all times. My 4 year old has a potentially anaphylacitc allergy to eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts. I am super watchful and paranoid, we are so, so careful - but still, I carry her epi-pens at all times, because mistakes happen, and you never know. Recently, she was offered a piece of someone's California roll, and I almost said yes, but then I wondered and googled it on my phone. Fake crab, as is often found in California rolls, often contains egg as a binder. We were about 2 seconds from making that mistake. And even if you're super vigilant, it is always possible in a social/public eating situation that your food has touched an allergen and has enough proteins on it to hurt you, so...it's just important to carry an Epi-pen (really, a 2 pack - because one buys you some time, but not always enough time for emergency services to get to you.) I also carry liquid Benedryl, for administering after the epi in case of exposure. (Benedryl does not treat anaphylaxis, so it's not an acceptable substitute.)

Having said all that, I know epinephrine is not ideal for the baby. But anaphylaxis is the greater risk. Talk to your doctor and see what they say though, and take care! I wish you an allergic-reaction-free pregnancy from here on out!
21st-Apr-2014 06:11 pm (UTC)
I'll def. talk to my doc. I haven't really thought too much about an epi-pen because even though I've had anaphylaxis in the past, I feel like most times, I can avoid egg whites. But it only takes one time....and I have a baby to think about now. I'll ask about getting one at my OB appointment on Thursday.

I don't eat meat so I didn't know fake crab meat can have eggs in them. Interesting.

Did your daughter have problems with vaccines? I can't get MMR as an adult as I had an allergic reaction to it as a kid because the vaccine is incubated in chicken eggs. I also avoid other vaccines derived from eggs.
21st-Apr-2014 06:16 pm (UTC)
She has had both the MMR and the flu shots with no reactions, and for that I am grateful! The first time we did them, her allergist advised us that it was probably fine for her to get them (as she's never had an anaphylactic response to egg, but she's also had almost no exposure because she was tested before she was eating much in the way of solid food), but because of her early diagnosis we should hang out at the doctor's office for 20-30 minutes after. We did that, and it was fine, so she is cleared to have the shots in the future.
21st-Apr-2014 10:07 pm (UTC)
Aw, she got lucky in that regard. I completely avoid all of the vaccines that are incubated in chicken eggs just in case, but if I didn't have a reaction prior, I wouldn't be as anal retentive about it.
23rd-Apr-2014 02:07 am (UTC)
I found out about my egg allergy after my second miscarriage. Apparently the immune response can start the birthing process. I now have a healthy 9 month old sleeping beside me. (And I accidentally ate Cadbury cream eggs today, and then realized they have egg whites. That gave me a stomach ache for a few hours.)
23rd-Apr-2014 02:14 am (UTC)
Ahhhh yeah, no bueno. Eggs are unfortunately in a lot of food. Snickers, Milky Ways, 3 Musketeers, plus lots of baked goods and even lollipops! I bought a decorated lollipop for Christmas once and what I thought was icing was actually something with egg whites. My lips blew up.

24th-Apr-2014 03:42 am (UTC)
I carry an epi pen for tree nut allergies and have to be super extra careful, because even a trace amount or skin contact sends me to the ER. My midwife told me to be extremely careful (obviously) but that if it was THAT bad to use my epi pen. It isn't good for the baby, but it keeps me from cardiac arrest and keeps me breathing, and those things would be obviously critical to the baby. She also told me that she's had two patients who've had to use an epi pen (both in later pregnancy) and both babies ended up being fine, which made me feel better.


Also, shame on your relatives! They should be extra careful knowing you're pregnant!
24th-Apr-2014 03:44 am (UTC)
PS. I'm sorry yours is eggs. That's rough. Luckily for me things like pecans or hazelnuts are so expensive, things with them are usually clearly labeled, which makes it easier. But eggs are in SO MANY processed foods! :\
24th-Apr-2014 02:30 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, it really is a pain! My boyfriend is allergic to nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, etc. I feel like for him, it's easier to avoid nuts than it is for me to avoid eggs.
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