I’m allergic to fish eggs and chicken. Every time I eat them I get rashes on my face. What could be the problem?

First, I would like to know if your allergic reactions has been supported by proper laboratory allergy tests or it is just based on your personal observation and suspicion.

Allergic reactions to food are usually not necessarily confined to the face. Please consult an experienced dermatologist, skilled in allergy management, who can do the necessary investigations.

Food allergies are mostly classified as Type-1, hypersensitivity reactions. The allergens can be found either as a proteinous component of a food or added preservatives and colouring agents. It usually starts with skin rashes, mostly urticarial (hives) in appearance, but sometime can be seen as reddish skin eruptions consisting of micropapular lesions. It can start from any part of the body and can either remain localised to that part but mostly they spread to other body areas causing a generalised reaction.

The more severe form of an allergic reaction is called “Angioedema” where the sufferer usually starts with complaints of swellings on lips, eyelid, tongue and voice box which can then lead to severe feelings of choking. The most serious form of Type-1 allergy is known as an “Anaphylactic reaction”, in which case within seconds after exposure to the allergen the sufferer can either directly go into severe systemic shock or one can suddenly start falling short of breath, stomach pain, with or without chest pain, stomach hypermotility with severe nausea and vomiting, severe dizziness leading to unconsciousness. The Anaphylactic Shock is a serious medical emergency.

On the treatment front, each type of the above mentioned allergic reactions have different treatment/management plans and strategies which are tailored according to the patient’s clinical presentation and results of the laboratory investigations.

In your case, you must stop eating the suspected foods immediately as repeated exposures can keep challenging the human immune system, which can lead to a surprisingly intense reaction.

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir is a Dubai-based dermatologist and director of Dermacare Skin Centre