Egg Allergy

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Question

How can I avoid getting the flu if I'm allergic to eggs and can't get a flu shot?

Answer

Because both the flu shot and the nasal flu vaccine contain egg, they should not be administered to anyone with an allergy to eggs, but certain antiviral prescription medications may help prevent the flu.

If someone you have close contact with - for example, a family member - has the flu, and you start having symptoms, ask your doctor right away about taking an antiviral medication to help prevent your catching the flu virus. These drugs include Tamiflu® (oseltamivir), Relenza® (zanamivir), Symmetrel® (amantadine) and Flumadine® (rimantadine). They work best if taken within 24 to 48 hours after your symptoms begin.

You may have seen or heard about reports that zinc, vitamin C, or echinacea can help prevent a cold or the flu. Since there are no studies confirming or denying that these products can actually help prevent viral infections, it is best to consult your doctor or pharmacist before trying any of them. These supplements may interact with other medications or worsen certain medical conditions.

Finally, if you are allergic to eggs, the best way to avoid the flu in the first place is to adopt some healthy habits:

  • Wash your hands frequently with warm soapy water.

  • Clean surfaces with a disinfectant.

  • If you cannot wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for quick clean up.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing by using the crook of your elbow or a facial tissue to help cover these areas, rather than your hands.

  • If you do become sick, stay home. This helps prevent the infection from spreading to other people.

Visit our Flu Center for additional health information.

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