Tips to Manage Fish Allergies

People with fish allergies are allergic to edible fish such as herring, Pollock, tilapia, sprat, mackerel, trout, salmon, cod, halibut etc. Fish allergy is a seafood allergy which is caused due to the protein parvalbumin present in fish.

Fish allergy just like shellfish allergy, is most likely to appear during adulthood and is difficult to outgrow. Also, allergies to fish and shellfish are often severe.

Fish Allergies and Cross-reactivity:

Because of the protein parvalbumin, people who are allergic to one type of fish may also be allergic other types of fish. This is known as cross-reactivity. Hence, people with fish allergies are recommended to avoid all fish varieties. However, your allergist can assess if a specific variety of fish is safe for you.

Fish allergy should not be confused with reaction to spoiled fish, food poisoning or bacterial infection. An allergist can assess if you have fish allergies through a skin-prick test or a RAST test.

Tips to Manage Fish Allergies:

Here are the following tips to manage fish allergies:

  • Read the food labels:

    The Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires the manufacturers to clearly label if their products contain any fish ingredients. Hence, do read and check the labels carefully before buying any products to prevent an allergic reaction

  • Avoid certain restaurants:

    While eating out, cross-contamination of food with fish ingredients can cause allergies. Hence, avoid seafood restaurants, ethnic restaurants, sushi bars, grill restaurants where fish food and non-fish food are prepared together

  • Communicate:

    While eating out, read the menu and always inquire with the hotel staff regarding the ingredients in the menu

  • Beware of foods containing fish:

    Some of the foods, sauces, dressings may contain fish ingredients and you should avoid them. Some of the foods which contain fish ingredients are Caesar salad dressing, Worcestershire sauce, Caponata, and Surimi

Fish allergies can cause anaphylactic reaction which can result in death. Hence, always carry a self-injectable epinephrine.

Fish ingredients are easy to spot, but sometimes the same oil is used for frying fish and other foods. This can prove to be dangerous. Also, inhalation of aerosolized fish proteins in grill restaurants can cause allergies. Hence, by being aware of the foods and avoiding them, you can properly manage fish allergies.

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