Q: If my child’s allergic to chicken eggs, could I safely cook for him using quail eggs?
Dr. Sharma: People with allergy to hen’s eggs are generally also allergic to other bird eggs, including quail, turkey, duck, goose and seagull.
This is called cross-reactivity, which occurs because of the similarity in the protein structures among these various bird eggs.
While it’s possible to be allergic to one type of bird egg but not others, this is rare.
Anaphylaxis to quail egg has actually been reported in those with hen’s egg allergy. So the usual recommendation for someone with hen’s egg allergy would be to avoid all other bird eggs.
Dr. Sharma is an allergist, clinical researcher and assistant professor of pediatrics. He is Clinical Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. and Director of the Food Allergy Program. Questions submitted below will be considered for answer in the magazine.