Allergic reaction: What to do for puffy eyes?

Puffy eyes that manifests after consuming fish has been a concerning symptom that requires proper assessment by a doctor. It is important to note that fish is one main causes of food allergy that can result to anaphylactic reactions. Fish allergy is considered lifelong and there is no available cure even today, but the condition can be managed by eliminating and avoiding all seafood products in the diet. Puffy eyes are an indication of anaphylaxis especially if the individual develops other symptoms.

What are puffy eyes?

Puffy eyes usually manifest during a severe allergic reaction and can be accompanied by swelling in other parts of the body such as the lips, tongue and throat.

It is important to note that puffy eyes are triggered by inflammation in the soft tissues that surrounds the eye. After consuming a dish that contains fish, the body wrongly identifies the proteins in the flesh of the fish as a threat to the body and starts to defend itself. During an allergic reaction, the immune system triggers the release of several chemicals that causes most of the allergy symptoms. The histamine released into the eyes can lead to puffy eyes, irritation and swelling.


Puffy eyes usually manifest during a severe allergic reaction and can be accompanied by swelling in other parts of the body such as the lips, tongue and throat.

Close look on fish allergy

Fish is considered as a common food allergen and the individual might be allergic to one or several types of fish. Take note that fish allergy is grouped into two – finned fish and shellfish. When it comes to shellfish, it includes shrimp, crab and lobster as well as those that live in a shell. As for finned fish, it includes tilapia, salmon and perch.

Take note that not all symptoms of fish allergy are severe. In some individuals, they only develop minor itchiness and puffy eyes without any complications.

An individual suspected with fish allergy should undergo testing. The doctor will perform allergy testing in order to determine the exact trigger for the allergy symptoms.


If the individual has puffy eyes that are minor and not accompanied by other symptoms, an antihistamine can help relieve the symptoms. It is recommended to use a first-generation antihistamine such as diphenhydramine to manage the distinctive food allergy reactions.

The first-generation antihistamines are available in doses that are taken every 4-6 hours but also known to trigger side effects such as drowsiness that can affect the performance of the individual at work or school. As for the second-generation antihistamines such as loratidine, they are recommended for seasonal allergy prevention. These are available in 24-hour doses and will not cause drowsiness.

Severe reactions

An anaphylactic reaction which is a severe allergic reaction is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Facial swelling
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • An abrupt drop in the blood pressure
  • Weak but rapid pulse

Remember that this type of reaction requires immediate medical attention. Call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department for proper treatment. Individuals who face a high risk for severe allergic reactions are usually prescribed with an injectable epinephrine. A shot is given once the initial signs of a reaction are present. Once a shot is administered, the individual should be taken to the hospital for further assessment and care.


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