Chicken Allergy

Introduction

A chicken allergy is any physical reaction after consuming chicken or its byproducts. Many chicken allergies are related to egg allergies. Some people who experience an allergic reaction to eggs, will often experience the same symptoms when they eat chicken. This is known as bird-egg syndrome. Those with this syndrome are allergic to a substance found in egg yolk and to chicken serum albumin, also known as alpha-livetin.

There have been a few cases of people who are allergic to chicken but not to eggs. In this case, the cause of the allergy is unknown. Chicken allergies can be minor or very severe and symptoms can occur up to several hours later.

Chicken Allergy Symptoms

  • Urticaria (hives), redness, and inflammation of the skin
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Mild fever
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • In rare cases, anaphylaxis

If you experience the above symptoms after eating chicken, you should avoid chicken and possibly eggs. Since eggs and chicken provide us with a large amount of protein, it’s important to substitute them with other protein products.

Alternatives To Chicken And Egg Protein

  • Tofu
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Veal
  • Soy Protein
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Beans
  • Beef

Diagnosing A Chicken Allergy

An allergy blood test or elimination test works best to diagnose this allergy. A blood test measures the antibodies in your blood responsible for your allergic reaction to chicken. This allergy test is more convenient and does not require preparation; however, you may have to wait weeks to receive your test results. During this time, refrain from eating chicken.

An allergy elimination test requires you to remove chicken and its byproducts from your diet. Your allergist may also ask you to eliminate eggs, turkey, and squab (pigeon) since they are in the same family. An accurate test lasts two to four weeks. If symptoms subside after eliminating the above foods from your diet, there’s a high chance that you are allergic to them.

Chicken Allergy Treatment

Antihistamines work well for treating symptoms related to chicken allergies. An allergy specialist can prescribe cortisone creams to help with hives and inflammation. Your doctor can also provide an inhaled corticosteroid for breathing problems if necessary. Any gastrointestinal symptoms will resolve on their own.

For more severe allergies, ask your allergist about epinephrine injection. If you require an Epipen, you will be given directions on how to administer it. It’s important to teach family members how to administer the injection as well.

Summary

While chicken allergies are rare, they can be severe. If you experience a life threatening allergic reaction after eating chicken, call 911 immediately and then visit a board certified allergist for an individualized treatment plan. NY Allergy & Sinus Centers provides many treatment options for an array of allergies. For more information or to book an appointment, call (212) 686-4448 today!

 

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