Chicken Allergy

What Is A Chicken Allergy?

A chicken allergy is an adverse immune response after consuming chicken or its byproducts. This allergy is not very common, but it can cause uncomfortable symptoms in patients. Many chicken allergies are related to egg allergies. This means that 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. Individuals with this syndrome are allergic to a substance found in egg yolk and to chicken serum albumin, also known as alpha-livetin. 

In a previous study, researchers reported the case of an atopic female patient who developed egg allergy symptoms after contact with a parrot. Her skin tests were positive for egg yolk, egg white, livetin, and mixed feathers.

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

Symptoms may worsen or lessen with exposure. However, they should clear up once you are no longer in contact with chicken. 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 are 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 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 from an allergy specialist, like one from NY Allergy & Sinus Centers. 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. A positive result will indicate high levels of specific IgE. This method of chicken allergy testing is more convenient and does not require preparation; however, it may take 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 on 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, our allergist will demonstrate how to administer it. It’s important to teach family members how to administer the injection as well.

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) 686-6321 today!

Chicken Allergy Frequently Asked Questions

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 Do I Know if I’m Allergic to Chicken or Just Intolerant?

Visit an allergist for an allergy test and they will determine if you are allergic or just sensitive to chicken. You should still avoid chicken if you are intolerant.

How is Chicken Allergy Diagnosed?

An allergy test can diagnose a chicken allergy.

How is Chicken Allergy Treated?

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

How Rare Is A Chicken Allergy?

Chicken allergy is a very rare condition and not well undocumented. While severe case have been documented, research does not account for mild cases that go unknown.

If I’m Allergic To Chicken, Can I Eat Other Types Of Bird?

If you are allergic to chicken, you may still be able to eat other types of bird. Contact the allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers for a complete food allergy diagnosis. 

Is Chicken Allergy Curable?

No, chicken allergy is not curable.

When Do People Develop A Chicken Allergy?

Chicken allergy can occur in children and adults. People can show symptoms as early as 3 years old.

Why Are People Allergic to Chicken?

Most people are allergic to chicken because of a related egg allergy.