Food Allergies: Baked Egg Challenge


:: The beach at my father's home. We spent the weekend playing in the waves before our trip to Children's Hospital Boston. ::

Our food allergy family had a big day today! We woke up bright and early and took 'A' to Children's Hospital in Boston for a baked egg challenge. We hoped she would pass it, but prepared ourselves for failure, and are so pleased to say that she passed with flying colors.

What's a baked egg challenge and why would you do it? Here's a quick and simple explanation. People who are allergic to eggs are allergic to some of the egg proteins. When eggs are baked at 350 degrees F or higher for 30 minutes, all but one of the allergenic proteins are denatured. They change form and no longer cause an allergic reaction. The one protein that is not denatured is called the ovomucoid. Not everyone who is allergic to eggs is allergic to the ovomucoid, and they can eat baked goods that contain eggs. Research has shown that if people who are allergic to eggs can eat muffins or cakes with baked egg, and eat these foods on a regular basis, they will outgrow their egg allergy sooner rather than later.

'A's bloodwork shows that she is only slightly allergic to the ovomucoid. Her doctor at Children's Hospital wanted her to come in for a baked egg challenge. "Sure!" we said enthusiastically. After all, her chances of passing it were decent, and if she did pass, the future would be positive. The egg challenge sounded like a good idea.

It was a good idea until the date neared and reality sank in. Doing the challenge could show us that 'A' is able to tolerate baked eggs and it would give us the most concrete hope we've had yet that she'll outgrow her allergy. On the other hand if she failed it, we would leave there with another defeat under our belts, with further proof that visits to the allergist resulted in bad news. It wouldn't be a crushing blow, but it would have a negative emotional effect. We're looking for hope at this point.

Here is what happened. We arrived by 8 am. 'A' was weighed, her temperature and blood pressure taken, and she was then examined by her nurse, Janet. Janet was great. 'A' and I were both a little nervous. As hard as I tried, I couldn't keep it all bottled up. I knew 'A' was nervous because she became a little beligerent with the nurse who took her vital signs and ignored Janet when they first met. She was not going to let Janet know that she was there to eat a muffin or two! Janet told me that her strategy is to take a light-hearted approach to the whole experience so as not to alarm the children. I liked that. She did a very good job of relaxing us.

Janet looked at 'A's skin to see how sensitive she is and make note of any existing hives. Then came the muffin! She first ate a quarter of one muffin. She was hungry because I hadn't let her eat breakfast, and ate the quarter of a muffin in a bite and a half. Janet checked her out right away. No breathing issues, no hives around her mouth or on her belly and arms, no tingles on her tongue or stomach aches. After 15 minutes, 'A' ate a half of a muffin. Again Janet checked her out and she had absolutely no reaction. 30 minutes later, the last portion of muffin was served: a muffin and a quarter. If you're counting, this makes two whole muffins all together. She started out hungry, ended up with a full belly, and had no reaction throughout the whole session. Amazing. Just amazing!

What now? We were sent home with the remainder of the batch of muffins. She is to eat one and a quarter a day for the next three days. If she has no reaction during this time, she's free (and encouraged) to eat any baked good I make on a regular basis. Again, eggs have to be baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Wow! Cakes and cupcakes made with eggs have such a different texture and crumb when they're baked with eggs - it's better, as far as I'm concerned. I'm so excited for 'A'. Next year, when she undergoes annual skin and RAST testing, we'll see if her numbers have improved, and determine if she's ready for a different type of egg challenge at that point.

It's been a big day, a wonderfully big day!

7 comments:

fromscratchclub Says:

Yay A! I am so thrilled by this positive news! It gives me hope for A's and MJ's futures! -Chris

Mama Jillian Says:

Yes!!!! It's a world of so many unknowns, and I'm putting hope and faith in this type of therapy. I'm excited to see her test results at this time next year.

Mink Key Says:

I am curius as to what her IgE numbers for the Egg white and yolks were?
My Daughter will be taking the baked egg challenge tomorrow and she is 2 and I so nervous.
Congrats on passing the egg challenge. Yay!
She is also allergic to gluten and adding an egg will make gluten free baking so much easier.
thanks
Worried mom

Mama Jillian Says:

Hi,
I just tried to comment and I'm not sure if that comment "stuck" so I am writing it again - sorry if this is a repeat!
At the time she did the challenge, her egg white was 3.00 kU/L and Ovomucoid was 1.10 kU/L. They didn't do an egg yolk test.
Gook luck with the challenge! We have done several food challenges at this point and I have learned that doctors will not do them if they aren't confident the child will pass.
After my daughter passed the baked egg, it was 3 years until she completely outgrew the egg allergy. I think eating small amounts of it really does help them outgrow the allergy.
Good luck!!!
Jillian

Mink Key Says:

Thank you so much. My daughters egg white numbers are in the 20's but the doctor thinks she will be ok,since her coconut numbers are way higher and she can handle coconut milk, coconut water, coconut curry just fine. I think eating small amounts is the key, I was giving her coconut milk yogurt and I really think that helped her even though her blood shows IgE to coconut, her SPT was negative.
Thanks I saw you are blogging from a new blog page. I was googling for baked egg challenge and came here.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

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Anonymous Says:

this is SOO exciting..I have a 1 year old boy that tested negative to ovomocoid and recently has tolerated baked goldfish!

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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!