There are many types of seafood available for consumption. People who love eating seafood often order shellfish, which are seafood forms like lobster, crab, squids, octopus, oysters, clams or shrimps. Allergy to these types of foods can develop unexpectedly. People who have consumed shellfish in the past without having any problems can also have an allergy to this, out of the blue. This allergy can be very dangerous. Shellfish allergy can develop at any age, and the reactions are sometimes life threatening. It can be more severe every time it occurs.
Shellfish protein can be added to non-shellfish foods or added as ingredients in other foods as well. Hence knowing "what you eat" is imperative if you have had an allergic episode earlier. If a person is allergic to fish, then he is sure to show allergic reactions to shellfish too.
People tend to outgrow food allergies over the years, but shellfish allergies usually remain with the victims and last for the rest of their lives. Food allergies are different from environmental allergies. You may not be able to prevent it since you may not be able to take a medicine prior, to prevent an allergic reaction.
A very important component in shellfish and other seafood is the Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which has been proved to be healthy for anyone. Since the consumption of seafood has increased the world over, more people are falling prey to allergies. One of the most common allergic reactions to eating prawns is the formation of hives which is an itchy red welt on the skin. Eczema is also an allergic reaction to eating shellfish.
As we are aware, the body's immune system works as a defense mechanism to keep the body healthy. Sometimes the immune system recognizes several food substances as harmful invaders and responds by releasing chemicals like histamines which create allergic reactions. The symptoms of these allergic reactions can be many. Few are listed below:
- Stomach ache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hoarseness in voice and wheezing
- Itching all over the body
- Throat irritation and aches
- Swelling of eyes, watery discharge
- Swelling of lips, face
- Eczema or itchy red welts on the skin
- Red spots on the face and body
- Lightheadedness, drop in blood pressure
Different reactions can occur in different people, and after eating different forms of shellfish. Each individual will show reactions in varying degrees. A severe reaction or the worst reaction is Anaphylaxis, where the person may lose consciousness and few cases have shown cardiac arrest too. This reaction will need immediate medical attention and hospitalization.
Test and Diagnosis: An allergist or a qualified doctor should be consulted for even mild allergic reactions to shellfish. The next time the allergic reactions occur, can be serious, if untreated.
Treatment: the best and the only way to prevent future allergic reactions are to avoid shellfish in your diet. Not only the shellfish but the by-products like nutritional supplements and cosmetic products which may contain the culprit food substance should be totally avoided to eradicate such adverse reactions in future.
Management is to strictly avoid all types of shellfish from your diet. There are some good home remedies too. Drinking warm water with lemon, having honey, vegetable juices like carrot, spinach and beetroot juices , hot ginger tea are some of the home remedies in case of shellfish allergies. These will reduce the allergic reactions. Banana, boiled potatoes are also good remedies for shellfish allergy, boosting the immune system. Your doctor or the allergist will certainly help with a list of what foods to avoid and what foods to consume.