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Fish & Puffy Eyes

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Fish & Puffy Eyes
A chef slicing a piece of fresh salmon. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Puffy eyes after eating fish is a concerning symptom that will need to be evaluated by your doctor immediately. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation states that fish are the most common causes of a food allergy that can lead to anaphylactic reactions. Fish allergies are lifelong and have no cure, but the condition can be treated by removing and avoiding all seafood products. Puffy eyes might be a sign of anaphylaxis, especially if you develop other symptoms along with eye puffiness.

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Puffy Eyes

Puffy eyes typically occur during a severe allergic reaction and might be accompanied by other parts of the face swelling, such as the lips, throat and tongue. Puffy eyes are caused by inflammation in the soft tissue that surrounds the eye. After eating the fish, your body mistakes the proteins in the flesh of the fish as a harmful substance and begins to defend the body. During an allergic reaction, the immune system releases various chemicals that trigger other chemicals, leading to most symptoms. Histamine released in the tissue by your eyes will cause puffiness, swelling and irritation.

Fish Allergy

Fish are a common food allergen, and you might be allergic to one or various types of fish. A fish allergy is categorized into two groups: shellfish and finned fish. Shellfish include shrimp, lobster and crab, and any other seafood that lives in a shell. Examples of finned fish include salmon, tilapia and perch. Not all symptoms of a fish allergy are extreme. Some people with a fish allergy might develop minor itching and puffiness around the eyes with no further complications.


If your eye puffiness is minor and not accompanied by other symptoms, taking an antihistamine might alleviate your symptoms. Use a first-generation antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine, to treat food allergic reactions. First-generation antihistamines come in doses that are taken every four to six hours and known for their side effect of making you tired. Second-generation antihistamines, such as loratadine, commonly are recommended for seasonal allergy prevention. Second-generation antihistamines are sold in 24-hour doses and do not cause drowsiness.

Severe Reaction

An anaphylactic reaction is identified by the following symptoms: facial swelling, hives, shortness of breath, a metallic taste in your mouth, dizziness, lightheadedness, pale skin, a drop in blood pressure and an increased heart rate that’s faint. This type of reaction will require emergency attention. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room for treatment.

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