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An allergic reaction to chicken can occur as quickly as within a few minutes of chicken meat being eaten. As well as being allergic to the meat, sufferers are often also allergic to chicken feathers and eggs. In some cases, the allergy to the meat may occur without any of these related allergies. When a person is allergic to chicken, there are many different signs.
The severity of the allergic reaction will determine how quickly the signs and symptoms appear. In very severe cases, the person will react within minutes of having eaten chicken in some form. In milder cases, it can be as long as two days before symptoms begin to manifest. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to chicken can be basically grouped into gastrointestinal — or abdominal — and external symptoms.
Respiratory signs associated with chicken allergies include wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. Mild symptoms may respond well to over the counter (OTC) allergy medications. When the symptoms are severe, or if they worsen over time, it is important to seek medical attention. This is particularly true if the airway becomes constricted due to swelling of the mouth or throat. In rare cases, blocked sinuses or a runny nose may occur.
Abdominal symptoms of this allergy are very similar to those experienced with food poisoning. As well as types of symptoms, the area and severity can differ. Cramping can occur across the abdomen and can be coupled with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The pain can range from mild to severe, but if it worsens with time, then medical assistance may be required. Additionally, if the symptoms are prolonged, a doctor should be seen, particularly if the person is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea for more than a few hours.
External signs of an allergic reaction to chicken are itchy skin and hives. The person can suffer from one or both symptoms and they may be localized — found in one area only — or generalized — found across the body. Calamine lotion and OTC medications can be used to treat mild symptoms, but more severe reactions should be seen by a doctor.
In some rare cases, the allergic reaction to chicken is so severe that the person experiences anaphylaxis. This type of reaction is life threatening as it affects several systems of the body, including the respiratory system. The symptoms are very rapid to develop, sometimes within minutes or seconds, and will require some kind of medical intervention to treat.