September 16, 2018

Do You Have a Chicken Allergy?

Food allergies affect millions of people all over the world. Some types of food allergies affect more people, while others are considered rare. For instance, eggs, milk, fish, seafood, etc. are among the most common food allergens. Allergic reactions to meat or chicken are less common. If you have a chicken allergy, you may develop the symptoms after eating chicken meat or touching chicken feathers.


In most cases, these symptoms are mild causing some level of discomfort. However, chicken allergies may also lead to severe reactions such as anaphylaxis, that requires an immediate medical attention.

Below, we will go through the symptoms, causes, and treatment of an allergy to chicken, as well as its connection to egg allergies.

What Is a Chicken Allergy and Chicken Intolerance?


Chicken meat or other chicken products, such as eggs and feathers, can cause allergy or intolerance reactions in some people.

If you have an allergy to chicken, you will experience more systemic reactions like skin rashes and swelling. In case of intolerance, the symptoms will mostly involve digestive symptoms like diarrhea.

There is also a condition called bird-egg syndrome. It occurs after exposure to chicken feathers or other particles or eating undercooked or raw egg yolk. However, this condition is quite rare.

How Common Are Chicken Allergies?


The risk of an allergic reaction to chicken meat is low. Chicken allergies are more common among adolescents, but they may also affect adults and even preschool-aged children.

You may develop a true (primary) allergy to chicken meat or experience cross-reactivity with another allergy, which is considered as a secondary allergy. Although it’s rare, people with egg allergies may sometimes cross-react to chicken meat.

What Are the Symptoms of a Chicken Allergy?


As mentioned earlier, an allergy to chicken is a rare condition, which makes it difficult to determine its most common symptoms. To start with, the symptoms may range from mild to severe. It may take up to two hours for them to appear.

If you are allergic to chicken meat, eating or touching it may cause you to experience the symptoms, such as: hives, redness and irritation of the skin, coughing or wheezing, swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, inflamed and sore throat, sneezing, swollen or watery eyes, nausea or vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.

It is also possible to develop an anaphylactic reaction to chicken. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening type of an allergic reaction that requires an immediate medical intervention.

If you experience any symptoms of anaphylaxis, you should seek medical help immediately. The symptoms include: difficulty breathing, wheezing, low blood pressure, heart palpitations or racing heart, and fainting.

Are Allergies to Chicken Meat and Eggs Connected?


Having a primary allergy to chicken meat does not increase the risk of reacting to chicken eggs. If you have a bird-egg syndrome or other allergies, you may develop a secondary allergy to chicken meat.

However, speaking a bird-egg syndrome, experts do not consider people with this syndrome to actually have a true allergy to chicken meat. In fact, they develop a reaction a specific protein that is contained in both egg yolks and chickens.

In rare cases, a person may have both chicken egg allergy and chicken meat allergy. But there are only a few reports of people with both conditions.

How to Get a Diagnosis?


If you notice allergy symptoms or any abnormal symptoms after eating chicken meat, make sure to visit your doctor.

Experts recommend that you consult with your doctor, even if your symptoms are mild. A doctor can help to determine the cause of the reaction and recommend a treatment and management plan.

If you develop an anaphylactic reaction, an immediate medical attention will be required in order to stop the reaction.

If you a history of severe allergies, your doctor will likely prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector, such as EpiPen.

How to Keep a Chicken Allergy Under Control?


If you are allergic to chicken meat, the best way to prevent a reaction is to avoid any contain with chicken mean, raw or cooked. You may also need to stay away from chicken products in general.

Some people should also avoid exposure to chicken eggs, especially if they are raw or undercooked. These are contained in many food products, so make sure to check the labels before purchasing.

If you do develop a reaction to chicken meat, you can try using an over-the-counter antihistamine. Antihistamines can help to reduce the symptoms, but they are only effective against mild reactions.

If you have a severe reaction, you should seek medical attention immediately. To stop an anaphylactic reaction and prevent your body from going into shock, you will need to use an injectable epinephrine.

Which Foods to Avoid?


If you have a chicken meat allergy, you may also react to other foods and substances. Thus, you may need to stay away from foods like chicken broth or other chicken products, turkey, geese, duck, pheasant, partridge, eggs, as well as fish or shrimps.

Chicken feathers may also trigger allergies, which is why some people prefer not to use feather-filled pillows.

Besides, chicken protein can also be found is some vaccinations, including yellow fever. An injection of this vaccine may cause an allergic reaction.

Consult with your doctor about the foods and other items you need to avoid in order to keep your allergy under control.

The Bottom Line


Compared to other food allergies, chicken allergy is a rare condition. It may affect people at any age, but it’s mostly seen in adolescents.

To prevent a reaction to chicken, an allergic person should avoid any contact with chicken and related products. If you develop a severe reaction (anaphylaxis), seek immediate medical attention. Then, you will have to arrange a follow-up visit to your doctor.

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