Shellfish Allergy

Shellfish Allergy can be one of the worst life-threading allergies but can also be one of the easiest to avoid. Shellfish is seldom a hidden food ingredient, but better to avoid all shellfish if you have a shellfish allergy.

If you suffer from a shellfish allergy, strictly avoiding shellfish and food containing shellfish is the only way to prevent a reaction. If your doctor is able to identify exactly which type of shellfish causes your allergies, than you only need to eliminate that type of shellfish from your diet. For the majority of shellfish allergy sufferers, however, this is not an option and all shellfish must be avoided.

Examples of shellfish include:

  • Abalone
  • Clams
  • Crab
  • Crawfish, crayfish
  • Lobster
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Cockle, sea urchin
  • Mussels

Be careful with fried foods. Some restaurants use the same oil to fry shrimp, chicken, and French fries. Also, keep in mind that imitation shellfish may still contain shellfish as many manufactures add shellfish for flavoring. Before you use it, read the label to be sure.

If your child has been diagnosed with a severe allergy to fish or shellfish, it is likely he/she will have the allergy for life. These allergies are frequently severe, and can come on even as an adult.

Most experts will agree that there is no cross-reactivity between fish and shellfish. But there are children allergic to both. The shellfish mix skin prick test is a combination of all shellfish that you can think of. Some people allergic to shellfish aren’t allergic to mollusks – clams, scallops, oysters and mussels. The fish mix skin prick test is often a combination of fish such as cod, mackerel, tuna and salmon. It is possible to be allergic to one and not the other, so separate testing is also available.

Should your child have shellfish allergy, be careful eating fried foods in a restaurant. The oil used to cook shrimp could also be used to cook fried chicken or French fries. A young woman allergic to shellfish had anaphylactic shock from this very exposure. Also, at a Japanese restaurant, the chef will prepare a fish or shrimp dish followed by another dish on the same surface. If your child is allergic to fish or shellfish, make sure the surface is completely cleaned before your child’s meal is prepared to decrease the chance of cross-contamination, or don’t eat there at all.

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