Seafood Allergy

Some people are allergic to seafood. Some people are sensitized only to one type of seafood for example lobsters while some are generally sensitive to all forms of seafood. Allergies occur when our body’s immune system makes a mistake in recognizing a harmless substance for a dangerous one and attacks back producing chemicals like histamines.

Causes of Seafood Allergy

Like all allergies, there is no particular reason as to why our body overreacts to the presence of a harmless substance and produces histamines. It is important to note though, that seafood contains proteins that may sometimes trigger an allergic response.

The causes of seafood allergy can be cross-contamination, direct ingestion or even inhalation. Causes of seafood allergy may be many, however, people should be careful by staying away from seafood sources. Fish products such as fish oil, Cod liver oil and seafood allergies do not get along well with each other. Hence, always consult your allergist before consuming them.

People often mistake seafood poisoning with seafood allergy. Seafood poisoning occurs when you eat spoiled fish. Eating spoiled fish would build up histamines in your body this will give all the symptoms of an allergic reaction without any allergic reaction taking place.

Symptoms of Seafood Allergy

Seafood allergies can trigger symptoms that are common throughout all forms of food allergy. Seafood allergy generally results in

  • Skin problems such as inflammation, itchiness, hives, redness and swelling.
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, heartburn, gas, diarrhea, stomachache.
  • Respiratory problems like cough, difficulty in breathing, cold and wheezing.
  • Sinus problems like nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing.
  • Oral problems like swelling of tongue or throat, tingling sensation in the mouth, eruptions in the mouth.

Sometimes the allergic reaction is so strong that it might result in severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention. These symptoms could be choking, loss of consciousness, drop in blood pressure, shortness of breath or tightening of chest or throat.

Diagnosis of Seafood Allergy

Methods of diagnosing food allergies are common throughout. The doctors sometimes may be able tell the symptoms of an allergic reaction easily. But at times they would need to conduct a complete medical examination and a few tests to find out the exact cause.

The common tests conducted would be a skin test that involves a little bit of pricking, scratching and injecting the skin with various seafood extracts to find out which was the allergy causing food. There is another test called Radioallergosorbent test (RAST) which involves sampling the patients blood for antibodies.

Prevention of Seafood Allergy

Prevention is the best medicine for allergies. The best way to avoid allergies is to complete avoid seafood that trigger an allergic reaction. Make sure you read the labels of food items carefully before eating them. Consuming fish oil or Cod liver oil with seafood allergies can be risky and should be avoided

Treatment of Seafood Allergy

Many physicians recommend an epinephrine shot at the first sign of an allergic reaction. This drug is a very powerful bronchodilator that quickly counteracts the effects of an allergic reaction and prevents it from developing into Anaphylaxis.