Whether it’s Easter fun or to mark the start of Spring, watching chicks hatch from eggs in the classroom provides great learning opportunities and is often a highlight of the school year for primary-aged pupils. So, what do you need to know if you have a pupil (or staff member) with an egg allergy?

What is an egg allergy?

People who are allergic to egg will have an allergic reaction if they eat egg or foods containing egg.

The allergic reaction occurs because the person’s immune system mistakenly identifies egg proteins, in either the whites and/or yolk, as harmful.

People with an egg allergy must avoid eating eggs or any ingredients containing egg.  Some people with an egg allergy can eat well-cooked or baked egg, others will react if even a small amount of egg touches their skin.

Read more about the symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to respond to an allergic reaction.

Is it safe for a pupil with an egg allergy to be in the classroom with an egg incubator and hatching chicks?

🥚 It is safe for the child to be in the classroom with the incubator, but they should not touch the eggs. Always ask them to wash their hands after touching the incubator box.

🐣 When the chicks hatch a child can handle them after 24-48 hours, once the feathers are quite dry and there is no egg residue remaining.

🧤 Consider whether a child with an egg allergy should wear disposable gloves to handle the chick (see below).

🐥 After handling the chick all pupils should wash their hands straight away.

👨‍🏫 The activity should be supervised by an adult to make sure the child does not put their hands near or in their mouth or risk cross-contamination from other pupils.

Communication with parents/carers:

We would recommend always letting parents and carers know if you are planning on having an incubator and hatching chicks in the classroom, particularly if their child has an egg allergy.

Discuss the measures you have in place regarding hygiene and handwashing and ask whether they would prefer their child to wear disposable gloves to touch the chicks.

Be mindful that some children with an egg allergy might feel very nervous about this activity and uncomfortable with having an incubator and eggs in such proximity to them.

Pictures: Chick: Afra Ramió on Unsplash

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