Among the most frequently occurring food allergies is the shellfish allergy and it happens when people get allergic reaction to several types or all types of shellfish. Lobster, octopus, and clams belong to the shellfish. Furthermore, shrimp and squid are shellfish as well. When one who is allergic to some of these shellfish eats them, he/she gets the symptoms of the shellfish allergy. One should know that when he/she is allergic to some type of food, even a tiny amount of such food will lead to the allergic reaction.
When one suspects that he/she is allergic to shellfish, it is important to go to a doctor who will confirm it by the means of various tests.
Symptoms of shellfish allergy
When people who are allergic to shellfish eat it even in small amounts, there are several symptoms that may appear almost immediately.
Itching of the skin, as well as hives and eczema accompanied by difficulty in breathing and nasal congestion are the most common symptoms of the shellfish allergy. Furthermore, wheezing, pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting may also appear due to the body’s reaction on the shellfish.
Other symptoms of this type of allergy include dizziness, tingling sensation in the mouth and swelling of many parts of the body, especially lips, tongue and throat.
Anaphylaxis is the medical term for a shellfish allergy that rarely occurs, but when it appears, it is a very serious and life-threatening condition. The most common warning sign of anaphylaxis are swollen throat or a formation of a lump in the throat, which makes the breathing very difficult. Rapid pulse and dizziness or loss of consciousness are very likely to occur as well. Furthermore, the person may also experience shock accompanied by a sudden severe drop in the blood pressure. This type of allergy requires immediate medical attention; otherwise, it can be fatal. Anaphylaxis is treated with an epinephrine injection.
Causes of shellfish allergy
The immune system secretes histamines and other chemicals to eliminate the allergens and these chemicals and histamines are responsible for the occurrence of allergic symptoms. An allergy occurs due to malfunctioning of the immune system, which identifies certain substances as harmful and as a result of that, it starts to secrete the antibodies to fight against those substances. When the shellfish allergy is in question, the protein in this type of food is recognized as a harmful substance and the immune system begins fighting against it.