Shellfish Allergy Symptoms

Seafood allergy is not a rare phenomenon, especially in reference to shellfish. It is very common , and occurs when an individual consumes any one of the type of shellfish. It can be classified as any marine occupant with shells; clams, lobster, shrimp, octopi, squid, oysters, crabs, scallops, sea urchin, mussels, etc. This allergy is primarily seen in adults. The strange aspect about shellfish allergy is that it can appear at any age, or with foods that have been previously eaten. And once allergic, you will stay allergic to almost all food groups under shellfish.

Allergy

This allergic reaction is caused because the immune system misinterprets the proteins present in the consumed shellfish as foreign bodies. And the immune system does what it’s designed to do, produce antibodies to fight the harmful foreign bodies. It releases chemicals, and it is these chemicals that develop into various symptoms. Hence, it is the immune system’s reaction that causes allergies, and not the food itself.

Symptoms

An allergy to shellfish will exhibit itself within minutes to a few hours of consumption. The severity of its symptoms may vary in its form from individual to individual. The most immediate reaction is swelling of the lips, face, tongue; and throat, hands and/or other parts of the body. Some experience diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting accompanied with abdominal pain. A sudden eruption of rashes that itch really badly, hives or eczema may also occur. A wheezing sensation with nasal congestion or troubled breathing has also been reported.

Other symptoms include dizziness, fainting spells, and light-headedness. One can even feel a light tingling sensation in the mouth and throat. A more severe allergic reaction to shellfish is anaphylaxis, although rare, it is known to occur. This condition requires immediate medical attention as it interferes with breathing. Shock, along with a drop in blood pressure and a rapid pulse rate, with a swollen lump in throat, and loss of consciousness are some of the symptoms that need to be treated immediately.

Treatment

The course and duration of the treatment depends upon the severity of the symptoms. In most cases, one may be prescribed medication such as antihistamines, to reduce rash and itchiness and help relieve discomfort. Soothing emollients are also given to reduce the inflammation caused by rashes such as hives or eczema. However, for anaphylaxis, injectable epinephrine is given as an emergency prevention.

The allergy can be avoided with basic prevention. Prevention is simple, steer clear of all shellfish, and its allied products. Avoid the fish markets, even airborne fish particles can cause allergies. If you plan to dine outside, be very sure of what and where you eat, it is quite possible for your non-shellfish foods to carry proteins from shellfish too. The allergy will last you a lifetime, but the symptoms may go away within an hour or a week’s time. If you are allergic to shellfish, carry some medication with you all time, so that it will have an immediate relieving effect on you.




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