It's that time of year. The flu season looms ahead. The recommendation is a flu shot for anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu. However, the flu vaccine may contain egg protein so those with an egg allergy should see their allergist for skin testing to the vaccine. After testing, weighing the risks and benefits helps patients determine whether or not they should get the shot.
There are other vaccines that can cause problems for those with allergies. Check with your doctor/allergist before any vaccine if you have concerns about food allery interaction. The commonly known are:
Chicken Pox Vaccine- to be avoided by those with a severe allergy to gelatin or the antibiotic Neomycin.
MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) to be avoided by those with a severe allergy to gelatin or the antibiotic Neomycin.
MMR was not given to those with egg allergy in the past as it is grown in the cells of chicken embryos. Talk to your doctor as that information has been changing.
Hepatitis B- a prior allergic reaction to this specific vaccine or a known allergy to bakers yeast (the ingredient used to make breads) should be discussed with your doctor.
Polio vaccine- anyone who has had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics neomycin, streptomycin, or polymyxin B should talk to their doctor before getting the polio vaccine.
Hepatitis A - talk to your doctor if your child has a hypersensitivity to alum, a metal used in many vaccines to ensure a better immune response, or to 2-phenoxyethanol, a preservative that protects the vaccine vial from contamination.
Bottom line: Vaccines contain many different ingredients. Treat them like you treat food. Find out what ingredients are in the vaccine and talk to your doctor.