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Seafood Allergy - Symptoms and Treatment

Submitted by Nick on February 21, 2011

Seafood Allergy

A seafood allergy is generally a life long allergy with life threatening reactions. A seafood allergy is a type of food allergy. In fact, a seafood allergy is one of the most common causes of a food allergy. It occurs when the immune system interprets the proteins in a product that contains fish or shellfish, as a harmful substance. A person who has this allergy and comes into contact with seafood (either by breathing, eating or touching), an allergic reaction takes place.

This is due to the antibodies produced by the body to fight the harmful substances. A seafood allergy could occur due to shellfish, crustaceans, or even scaly fish. Such an allergy occurs mainly in adults but can be seen in children as well.

Being allergic to seafood is quite common. Some people are allergic to only bony and scaly fish, while others are allergic to only a few species. Keep in mind that the proteins in different kinds of fish are fairly similar, so you may have to stay away from fish in general, if you have a seafood allergy.

However, research has shown that people who are allergic to only certain species of fish can eat other seafood species without any problem at all.  Studies also show that there is no probable cross reaction between fish and shellfish, but a concomitant allergy is possible. Therefore, if you are allergic to fish, you should get yourself tested for shellfish allergy as well.

Seafood allergy symptoms include

Skin problems – these could range from breaking out in hives, severe itching on the skin, and even developing eczema.

Breathing problems: these include wheezing and a closing up of the airways as well.
Swelling: The mouth, lips and throat tend to swell up and a tingling feeling may be experienced as well.
Abdominal problems: Vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain could occur as well.
Other symptoms: These include a seafood allergy rash (atopic dermatitis), an oral burning sensation or a peppery taste, asthma and hypotension. In rare cases, anaphylaxis may occur.

The above symptoms may appear within minutes of eating seafood or even several hours later. A seafood allergy test can be carried out to see if you are allergic to seafood. This test will either be a skin test or a blood test. Perhaps the best seafood allergy cure is to avoid seafood altogether. Prevention is after all the best medicine.

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