Understanding Seafood Allergies

Seafood allergies, particularly shellfish allergies, are one of the most common allergies among adults.

These allergies usually develop later in life as an adult or young adult. Unfortunately, once you develop an allergy to shellfish you’re stuck with it for life.  There’s good news, however.  A shellfish allergy doesn’t necessarily mean that ALL seafood is off-limits.  According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, crustaceans (such as crabs, lobsters, or shrimp) are what cause most seafood allergies.  Fin fish and even mollusks (such as oysters, clams, or mussels) can often be tolerated by people with a shellfish allergy.

Of course, anyone with a severe allergy should consult with a doctor before trying different types of seafood.

So how do you know if you’re experiencing an allergic reaction?  Symptoms can occur within a few minutes or up to an hour after exposure and may include:

  • Itching
  • Flushed face
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the lips, throat, or face
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness

Some seafood allergies can be triggered by touching seafood or inhaling the vapors during cooking, so use care when preparing food around people with severe allergies.  For more information on seafood allergies, check out the following links:

Allergist, sponsored by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Everyday Health Guide to Shellfish Allergies


Posted Oct 22nd by Danielle