Chicken Allergy

A chicken allergy is an adverse immune response 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 of a chicken allergy can occur up to several hours later.

Chicken Allergy Symptoms

  • Urticaria (hives), redness, and chicken allergy rash
  • 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 allergy foods 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.

Chicken Allergy Foods to Avoid

Frozen of fresh chicken Turkey Chicken stock Eggs
Curry Seasonings Canned soups Egg products

If you’re allergic to chicken, avoid products with chicken and eggs until the cause of the allergy is determined by an allergist. If your allergy is due to the bird-egg syndrome, you could be at risk of a severe allergic reaction. Alpha-livetin is found in many goods, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis. In the meantime, consider these alternatives to chicken and egg protein.

Alternatives To Chicken And Egg Protein

Tofu Vegetable Broth Veal Soy Protein
Fish Pork Beans Beef

Chicken Allergy Diagnosis

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 method of chicken allergy testing 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 chicken allergy food list. 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.

Chicken Allergy Frequently Asked Questions

If I’m Allergic to Chicken, Can I Eat Other Birds?

There may be cross-reactivity between chicken and other similar meats such as turkey and duck. So you may be allergic to other birds. Contact an allergist to find out.

Will I Have An Allergic Reaction to Vaccines Containing Chicken Protein?

If you’re allergic to chicken, you may react to the yellow fever vaccine. You also may not be able to take the live influenza vaccine as it contains chicken protein.

Is Chicken Allergy Curable?

No, chicken allergy is not curable. The condition can be managed with certain antihistamines or epinephrine.

Why Are People Allergic to Chicken?

Most people are allergic to chicken because of a related egg allergy. If you’re allergic to eggs, it’s best to get an allergy test for chicken to be sure it’s safe to eat.

Can I Be Allergic to Chicken?

If you’re allergic to eggs, you can be allergic to chicken as well. Contact a food allergy doctor for a diagnosis.

How is Chicken Allergy Treated?

Antihistamines can treat your symptoms. For more severe allergic reactions to chicken, use an epinephrine auto-injector.

How is Chicken Allergy Diagnosed?

An allergy test can diagnose a chicken allergy. In some cases, you will need a food challenge to confirm the diagnosis. This should only be done in a clinical setting with trained medical personnel.

Summary

While chicken allergies are rare, they can be severe. If you experience a life-threatening chicken allergy 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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    Our premier team of allergists offer state-of-the-art methods for diagnosis and treatment of allergies and sinus conditions. Our NY Allergy & Sinus Centers perform Allergy Skin and Blood Testing, Food Allergy Testing, Patch Testing, and Immunotherapy, and often a same-day diagnosis is possible.

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