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Thanksgiving Day Allergy

Thanksgiving Day should be restful and enjoyable with family, friends, football and a big turkey on the dining room table.  However, if you have poultry allergy you could be asking for trouble if you eat that bird.

Severe allergies to chicken and turkey are rare or rarely reported.  In 2005, I published a report in the Wisconsin Medical Journal on anaphylaxis to chicken.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16933414  Following publication of this case report, I received many emails from individuals who experienced adverse reactions after eating chicken or turkey.   They reported that often their primary care physician and sometimes even their allergist did not believe they had an allergic reaction to poultry.   Diagnosis of food allergies can be frustrating.  Find a doctor who will listen to you carefully.  Since food allergies can present as anaphylaxis, it is imperative to identify the trigger and avoid that specific food.  It is also important to carry self-injectable epinephrine (EpiPen  http://www.epipen.com/) and wear a medical alert bracelet indicating the allergy so others are aware.

Egg allergy is very common, especially in children.   Similarly, allergy to chicken, duck or goose feathers is fairly common.  Interestingly, you don’t have to have egg or feather allergy to have chicken or turkey meat allergy.

For reliable information on food allergies, go to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network website. http://www.foodallergy.org/  Although you won’t find specific information on chicken or turkey allergy, there are excellent suggestions for dealing with food allergies in general.

Since severe allergic reactions can occur anywhere at any time, it is important to have an awareness of the early signs and symptoms and how to respond to an allergic emergency.  As an Anaphylaxis Community Expert (ACE), I will give FREE presentations to schools and community groups.  Visit www.aanma.org/AnaphylaxisCommunityExperts to find out about this award-winning program, a joint project of AANMA and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology  http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Anaphylaxis/Pages/default.aspx.

Call me at 406-451-7017 if your community organization or school is interested in this program.

So, enjoy this Thanksgiving Day!  If you are allergic to poultry, try the ham.

This educational information does not take the place of your physician’s advice.

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