Bethenny Frankel’s fish allergy is unrelenting. The Real Housewives of New York City cast member took to her Instagram Stories on Sunday, April 14, to share that she experienced an allergic reaction after simply getting a kiss on the cheek from a friend who had eaten fish earlier in the day.
The 48-year-old posted a photo of her chin, which appeared to be red and slightly inflamed after the peck. “My friend had lox for lunch and gave me a smooch goodbye,” Frankel wrote alongside the picture. She also included two fish emojis, intimating the reaction was caused by the ocean dwellers, and drew an arrow to her chin, pointing viewers to the mild but scary reaction.
In other words, though Frankel didn’t ingest any fish herself, merely coming in contact with another person who had eaten smoked salmon several hours earlier was enough to trigger a response from her body.
The reality star has dealt with a fish allergy for most of her adult life, but she has been much more open about it in recent months after nearly dying from the affliction in December 2018. During that ordeal the Skinnygirl founder ate some soup that, unbeknownst to her, had fish in it. The soup caused a reaction that led Frankel to fall unconscious and require emergency medical treatment. She later credited her EpiPen and current boyfriend, Paul Bernon, with saving her life.
Since that initial incident the BStrong founder has also had two close calls while traveling. In one instance Frankel’s plane was nearly forced to turn around when she realized there was fish being served on board, and in another she was annoyed to learn fish was part of the in-flight meal despite contacting the airline multiple times about her potentially fatal allergy.
As the entrepreneur explained to Dr. Phil during an interview that aired in January, these mishaps have made her very fearful. “It’s crazy. I don’t like to be alone anymore,” she said. “I don’t want to be at restaurants alone, and I’m not that type of person. It’s very scary. It changes your whole entire life.”
Frankel even went for a series of in-depth allergy tests in March in attempt to better understand what foods she should avoid. Not surprisingly, the skin prick tests confirmed she was allergic to fish, and suggested she might be allergic to wheat as well. “Look, the fish is ragging,” she said at the time as she gestured to the inflamed part of her arm that was tested for a fish allergy. “The wheat is ragging a little too. This is so itchy.”
According to Dr. Clifford Bassett, a New York City allergist who has not treated Frankel, fish allergies are more common than you might think. “Going to the emergency room for a fish allergy reaction is among one of the leading causes of food allergies in America, particularly in adults more so than children,” he explained to Us Weekly. Dr. Bassett also explained how allergy tests are a step in the right direction, adding, “We do blood, skin testing and food challenges when it’s necessary for adults that are at risk for a food allergic type reaction and need to clarify what the triggers or the culprit is so it’s not misdiagnosed by other things that cannot be an allergy.”
With reporting by Marc Lupo
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