Shellfish Allergy

What is shellfish allergy?

Food allergies are when a person develops allergy antibodies (IgE antibodies) to a protein in a food, and when exposed to this protein it causes an allergic reaction. Shellfish allergy is when you have an allergic reaction to crab, lobster, shrimp, oysters, scallops, clams, or other shellfish. This is different from a fish allergy.

What causes shellfish allergy?

We do not know why certain people develop food allergies and others do not. There are many theories as to why food allergies are becoming more prevalent.

What are the symptoms of shellfish allergy?

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to shellfish are: hives, swelling, wheezing, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping.

What are shellfish allergy care options?

The only option at this time is to strictly avoid shellfish. Even small amounts of the proteins in shellfish that are ingested can cause a severe allergic reaction. Everyone diagnosed with food allergy should have a food allergy action plan, and carry an auto injectable epinephrine device, as this is the only medication that treats anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction).

There is a chance that people can grow out of their food allergies. A board certified allergist can evaluate and determine if these foods can be reintroduced into the diet.

Reviewed by: Amy S Feldman, MD

This page was last updated on: May 12, 2021 10:12 AM

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