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Bethenny Frankel urges airlines to stop serving fish after her latest allergy scare

The "Real Housewives" star, who has a severe fish allergy, wants airlines to "stop serving airborne allergens."
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Reality star Bethenny Frankel, who is allergic to fish, had a recent scare on a flight.Roy Rochlin / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Life with a severe fish allergy has resulted in another frightening situation for Bethenny Frankel.

The "Real Housewives of New York City" star tweeted Thursday that a plane she was on was serving bass despite her potentially fatal fish allergy, which she said she had called ahead to warn them about.

"Called airline mult x to say I have fish allergy,'' she wrote. "Got on & they’re serving bass. They couldn’t not serve it they said. Then they were turning around which I protested bc it would delay people. Cabin asked to not serve it & pilot made announcement to plane. That was fun. #epilife"

Frankel, 48, did not specify where the flight originated or which airline she was using. In a later tweet, she clarified that, in the end, the plane did not turn around.

She also noted that she has lobbied multiple airlines to stop serving foods that could contain airborne allergens.

The potentially life-threatening situation came just a few weeks after Frankel revealed that she was hospitalized for two days after being exposed to fish in soup.

She tweeted that she lost consciousness for a short while and that she couldn't talk or see and thought she had had a stroke and was dying.

The incident on the airline also comes after an 11-year-old boy in Brooklyn died on Tuesday from an allergic reaction to the smell of cooking fish, according to his family.

The boy's death highlights the dangers of fish allergies being triggered by airborne particles, which Frankel noted is part of her allergy as well.

Even though Frankel wouldn't have eaten the bass, she still could've had a severe reaction to the smell and particles in the plane, according to Dr. Stephen Kimura, a board-certified allergist in Pensacola, Florida.

"I think the lay person doesn't recognize either the severity of the reactions or how it can be airborne as well and ignores that type of thing, thinking, 'Oh, we won't serve it to her,''' Kimura told TODAY. "It's potentially fatal. A classic reaction, especially to fish and shellfish, can occur within minutes."

Symptoms include a swelling of the tongue and throat that makes it impossible to breathe.

"I've seen it down here (in Florida) when people have a shrimp boil or are steaming the shrimp and the protein gets aerosolized,'' Kimura said. "If they don't have an EpiPen or epinephrine, they can die from it. They need it immediately."

There also can be cross-contamination when a knife that's used to cut the fish is used on other food, or french fries are made in the same cooking oil that's used to fry fish or shrimp.

An EpiPen is just a temporary fix during an allergic reaction to fish.

"EpiPens come in twin packs, because the symptoms can often re-occur within minutes,'' Kimura said. "We always tell people they need to be on their way to the emergency room, because there can be a recurrence even after they've avoided the allergen (and used the EpiPen).

"In the emergency room, they will keep them for 12 hours just to observe them and make sure symptoms don't return."

Frankel's Twitter followers had some suggestions to avoid similar situations in the future, including getting a private jet.

"I ain't got it like that,'' she replied. "And I want to work less not more."