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What Are The Symptoms Of A Shellfish Allergy

Treatment For Shellfish And Fish Allergies

Medical Conditions & Treatments : Symptoms of Shellfish Allergies

The only current treatment for food allergies is to avoid the food that causes your allergy. Even if you are careful, it is difficult to avoid all contact with a specific food. If you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction autoinjector , ASCIA recommends that you have an action plan for anaphylaxis.If you are not at high risk and have not been prescribed an adrenaline autoinjector, ASCIA recommends that you have an ASCIA action plan for allergic reactions.To help with food avoidance, people with food allergies need to become familiar and comfortable with reading food labels. ASCIA has fact sheets to help you understand how to read food labels and what to avoid if you have a shellfish or fish allergy.Inaccurate diagnosis can lead to expensive and ineffective treatments, and unnecessary food avoidance that can lead to malnutrition and food aversion, especially in children. Always speak to your doctor about your food allergy diagnosis and treatment options.

Symptoms Of Shellfish And Fish Allergies

Every persons immune system is different, and shellfish and fish allergies can cause diverse symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Many food allergies do not cause severe symptoms, but they can be life threatening in some people and should be taken seriously.Fish and shellfish allergic reactions can occur after eating seafood, but you can also have symptoms after touching seafood or inhaling fumes from shellfish or fish while they are being cooked or processed in a factory.Milder allergic symptoms that can occur before a severe allergic reaction include:

  • raised red bumps of skin hives
  • swelling of the lips
  • tightening of the throat
  • digestive symptoms cramps, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting.

If you or a child in your care have experienced any of these symptoms after eating fish or shellfish, the risk of having a severe reaction after eating that food is greater than usual. Ask your doctor to refer you to a medical specialist, known as an allergist or clinical immunologist.

Major Shellfish Allergy Symptoms:

are not typical but can happen with the airway becoming constricted with a swollen tongue or uvula . A person could go into shock with a plummeting blood pressure and dizziness to the point of unconsciousness. Again, these are the major symptoms and do not happen often.

Those with shellfish allergy symptoms typically have had a family member with some sort of allergy and not necessarily to shellfish. They will now have an increased risk to asthma. Interestingly, those with a shellfish allergy are usually able to consume regular fish like perch or salmon.

They should avoid all shellfish even though in reality they may just be allergic to one variety. If the reaction is severe it may be life threatening. Do not hesitate in seeking medical advice for this condition. It may even be recommended that an Epi-Pen for a quick dose of an antihistamine like Epinephrine should be carried.

An appointment to doctor to diagnose the shellfish allergy is recommended. The patient should bring to the first appointment their history of eating shellfish along with every other thing they ate or drank at that meal including sauces or condiments. The physician will take a very extensive history to find out when the symptoms started, past medical history, family history and symptoms and then conduct a complete physical exam.

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Precautions Shellfish Allergy Reaction

Just as a result of an individual allergic to shellfish has by no means had an anaphylactic response earlier than, doesnt imply thats receivedt happen sooner or later. People with extreme shellfish allergy symptoms ought to converse to their healthcare suppliers about receiving a epinephrine incase of an emergency anaphylactic response. Also, bear in mind that a second anaphylactic response, generally known as a biphasic reaction, can happen so long as 12 hours after the preliminary allergic response.

Treatment For Shellfish Allergy Reactions

What To Avoid With A Shellfish Allergy

Since food allergies are the most common causes of anaphylaxis, patients with shellfish allergies should always carry epinephrine auto-injectors with themthis is the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. If you are not sure whether an allergic reaction is leading to anaphylactic shock, you should use the epinephrine treatment anywaythe benefits of early use outweigh the risks of an unnecessary dose.

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Shellfish Allergy May Be Even More Widespread

There are a number of factors surrounding shellfish allergies that suggest that it could be more widespread than the number indicate. The nature of the various types of shellfish and some folks aversion to it could mean that there are people who are allergic to it but are too repulsed by the thought of eating an oyster to find out. The look and smell of shellfish causes many to keep their distance and, who knows, perhaps that is protecting them from coming in contact with an allergen.Another factor that could be skewing the figures is that the majority of shellfish is quite expensive and so a fair chunk of the community simply cant afford to buy it.If you experience any strange feeling after eating any kind of shellfish it is highly advisable that you consult a doctor and get yourself tested for shellfish allergy.

How Is A Shellfish Allergy Treated

There is only one sure way to forgo the problems associated with food allergies, and that is by avoiding your known allergens . Avoidance is easier said than done. If youre:

  • Cooking your own meals, always check the ingredients listed on any package goods or processed foods you buy.
  • Dining out, speak with your servers, chefs, or restaurant manager about the requirements related to your food allergies. Many restaurants publish their menus online so you can determine beforehand the safest items for consumption. You can also inform restaurants of your food allergies ahead of time when using internet booking applications.

Despite your best efforts, you may on occasion come into contact with a food allergen. Minor reactions can treated with over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines. More serious reactions call for the administration of epinephrine. Be sure to keep your epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times, and that you know how to use it. Make certain, too, that family members, or others who are close to you, know how to administer the drug as well.

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How Else Can I Lower My Risk For An Allergic Reaction

In addition to not eating shellfish, these precautions can help you stay safe:

  • Try not to cook or touch shellfish: Particles can become airborne during cooking and cause an allergic reaction. Some people have a reaction from handling shellfish.
  • Use caution in seafood restaurants: Even non-shellfish dishes prepared in seafood restaurants may contain shellfish. Restaurants often use the same cooking equipment for shellfish and non-shellfish dishes, so there may be contamination.

Types Of Seafood That Can Cause Allergies

Shellfish Allergy Symptoms Effective Remedies Alternatives

Allergies are caused by a reaction to specific proteins in foods. Allergic reactions can be caused by:

  • fish , including salmon, cod, mackerel, sardines, herring, anchovies, tuna, trout, haddock, John Dory and eels
  • shellfish , including crustaceans including prawns/shrimps, lobster, crab, crayfish, yabbies and molluscs such as oysters, mussels, clams, octopus, squid, calamari, abalone, sea slugs.

Some people are allergic to fish only, others to shellfish only, and others to both groups.

If you are allergic to one type of seafood, you cant predict whether youll be allergic to any other type of seafood. The only way to find out is through testing or experience.

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The Symptoms And Management Of Shellfish Allergies

Shellfish allergy is the most common food allergy among adults in the United States.

Unlike many food allergies, shellfish allergy is more likely to develop in adulthood than in early childhood. The majority of people who have shellfish allergies have their first reaction as adults. Once you develop a shellfish allergy, it tends to be severe and lifelong.

Symptoms of shellfish allergy usually appear within minutes up to two hours of eating shellfish.

These symptoms may include:

  • Skin reactions such as hives or eczema
  • Allergic conjunctivitis: Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Digestive reactions such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Airway symptoms such as wheezing or coughing or a runny nose
  • Angioedema: swelling of lips, tongue, throat, or face

Shellfish allergies may cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction and a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care.

Shellfish allergy also is the most common cause of exercise-induced anaphylaxis, in which the combination of eating a food allergen and exercising causes an anaphylactic reaction.

What Causes A Shellfish Allergy

Shellfish contains a protein called tropomyosin that can trigger a response from the human immune system. In more extreme cases, this response includes the production of histamines and an antibody known as immunoglobulin E or IgE. Overproduction of these chemical defenses can lead to symptoms such as hives, swollen respiratory passages, and difficulty breathing. Tropomyosin is typically ingested with food but can also be inhaled through the air anywhere seafood is being handled or prepared.

There are two main categories of shellfish, and being allergic to one doesnt automatically mean that youre allergic to the other. The first category, crustaceans, includes shrimps, crabs, and lobsters. The second category, mollusks, encompasses clams, mussels, scallops, oysters, and octopuses. Crustaceans are the primary source of shellfish allergies.

You are more likely to develop a shellfish allergy if other members of your family also have allergies. Adults are at a greater risk than children for shellfish allergies, with adult women more susceptible than adult men.

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Shellfish Allergy: Symptoms Testing And Treatment

Shellfish allergy is, by far, the most common adult onset food allergy. Approximately 2.3 percent of the general population is reported to have a shellfish allergy. This type of food allergy can develop at any time, and is often reported in those who have been able to safely consume shellfish in the past. Unlike a milk or egg allergy, when a child develops a shellfish allergy it is often persistent, and without intervention it can be lifelong.

Shellfish allergy is typically caused by tropomyosin, a key protein found in the mollusk and crustacean families. Additional allergens in mollusks include amylase, arginine kinase, myosin heavy chain, and haemocyanin. Tropomyosin is also a shared protein in invertebrate shells.

As a result, insects and arachnids can trigger a similar allergic reaction. This similarity creates a high correlation between dust mite allergies and shrimp allergies. Even vegetarians could develop a shrimp allergy through inadvertently breathing in dust mites! Learn more about shellfish allergy symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment in the sections below.

Is A Shellfish Allergy Dangerous

Seafood allergies and Seaweed

Any food allergy can be dangerous. Even if youve only experienced mild allergic symptoms to a food, you can always potentially have a dangerous reaction to that same food. Its smart to be careful and prepared. Carry your epinephrine injection with you at all times. Note the expiration date so you can get a new one before it expires.

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How Do I Manage A Shellfish Allergy

You cant become un-allergic to shellfish. The best way to keep yourself healthy is to avoid shellfish. Besides avoiding shellfish itself, make sure you avoid foods that contain shellfish.

The Food and Drug Administration requires food manufacturers to list common food allergens, such as shellfish, on food labels. The food label lists the allergen either in the ingredients list or after the list. For example, if a product contains abalone, a species of shellfish, the label will state abalone in the ingredients or contains shellfish after the ingredients list.

How Do I Manage My Allergy

Because there is no cure for food allergies, your healthcare provider may recommend a plan that includes the following.1,4,8-11

Your healthcare provider may direct you to take one of the following medications:

  • Epinephrine auto-injector when there are signs of an acute severe event, aka anaphylaxis . Ensure your family members know how to administer it in case of an emergency.
  • Antihistamines as a supplement may be useful in relieving mild symptoms , however they do not halt the progression of an allergic reaction.
  • Bronchodilator as a supplemental therapy for respiratory symptoms, especially in those with a history of bronchospasm or asthma.

If you’re with someone who’s having an allergic reaction and shows signs of shock, act fast. Look for pale, cool, and clammy skin a weak, rapid pulse trouble breathing confusion and loss of consciousness. Do the following immediately:

  • Ensure the affected individual is lying down with legs elevated.
  • Administer epinephrine immediately for any obvious signs of anaphylaxis.
  • Check the affected individual’s pulse and breathing and administer CPR or other first-aid measures if necessary.

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Causes Of Shellfish And Fish Allergies

For all allergies, the immune system reacts to specific allergy triggers . Your immune system produces antibodies that detect the allergen and cause inflammatory reactions and the release of a chemical called histamine. Histamine causes hives, hay fever and other allergic symptoms.The specific molecule in shellfish or fish that triggers your allergy may be present in a range of foods, and you may then have an allergic reaction to all foods containing that molecule. Some people who are allergic to one type of fish may be allergic to another type of fish or they may have allergies to several crustaceans, such as prawn, crab and lobster. This is known as cross-reactivity. Speak to your doctor about cross-reactivity because it is difficult to predict.The list of fish that can cause an allergic reaction is quite long and includes, but is not limited to:

  • barramundi
  • prawns
  • squid.

The Healthy Eating Advisory Service has more comprehensive lists of seafood that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Visit your doctor for more information.

Keeping A Record Of Your Symptoms

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Diagnosing an allergy can be difficult. If you think you or a child in your care may have an allergy, keeping a record of symptoms can help you and your doctor to understand what is causing them.Your diary could include information about whether the symptoms occur:

  • inside your home, outside or both
  • for a short time or longer
  • at night, during the day or when you wake up
  • after you have had a particular food or drink
  • after you have taken a particular medication, either prescription or over the counter from a pharmacy or supermarket
  • after you have taken a herbal medicine.

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What Is Shrimp Allergy

Normally, our immune systems defend and protect us from harmful invaders like certain viruses and bacteria. But when someone has a shrimp allergy, their immune system mistakenly treats the protein in shrimp as a harmful invader.

Their immune system makes special allergy antibodies called IgE antibodies to shrimp proteins to help fight them off. These antibodies trigger symptoms of an allergic reaction whenever the person consumes shrimp.

Most shrimp allergies involve a protein called tropomyosin. According to one report, over 60 % of people with shellfish allergies react to tropomyosin.

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Are There Other Allergens I Could Be Sensitized To*

Some people with shellfish allergy may also experience symptoms when eating other seemingly unrelated foods. This is called and occurs when your body’s immune system identifies the proteins, or components, in different substances as being structurally similar or biologically related, thus triggering a response. The most common cross-reactivities with shellfish are other crustaceans , and weaker cross-reactivity is found with mollusks . Plus in rare cases, dust mites and insects may also be cross-reactive.2

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Will My Child Be Allergic To Other Foods

Shellfish and fish are different. People who are shellfish allergic may be able to eat fish. There are two different types of shellfish: molluscs and crustaceans. Molluscs include mussels, clams, oysters and squid. Crustaceans include prawns, shrimp, lobster, crab and crayfish. People who are allergic to one type of crustacean, such as prawn, are generally allergic to all other crustaceans but may be able to eat molluscs. Your allergist will be able to advise.

What Exactly Is A Shellfish Allergy

Shellfish Allergy Fact Sheet

Allergies to crustacean shellfish are more common and molluscan shellfish allergies are well known, but do not appear to occur as frequently. The major shellfish allergen has been identified as tropomyosin, a muscle protein that is present in different species of shellfish and could be responsible for cross-reactivity. This is why most people who are allergic to one type of shellfish are often allergic to other types as well.

Shellfish is one of the leading causes of food allergies in adults and is a common cause of food-induced anaphylaxis. In the U.S., a survey involving 14,948 individuals revealed that 2 to 3 percent of people believe to have a seafood allergy: 2.2 percent to shellfish and 0.6 percent to fish. From highest to lowest prevalence, shellfish allergy is most common in shrimp, crab, lobster, clam, oyster and mussels.

The growing international trade of seafood has added to the popularity of frequency of consumption of a variety of seafood products across the country. This increased production and consumption has been accompanied by more frequent reports of adverse health problems among consumers and processors of seafood. Research shows that adverse reactions to seafood are often generated by contaminants, but can also be mediated by the immune system and cause allergies.

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How Can My Child Avoid Shellfish

Shellfish is easy to avoid. Some foods, such as Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, fried rice, egg rolls, salad dressings, seafood muffaletta sandwiches can have shell fish as hidden ingredients. Cross contamination when buying fresh shellfish over the counter in shops and supermarkets can occur. Some dishes like paella, bouillabaisse, gumbo and frito misto contain lots of different kinds of fish at once, can be difficult to spot. It is useful to avoid such dishes.

Some face creams and health supplement can have crushed shells and should be watched for.

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