It is important to note that the consumption of seafood has significantly increased over the past few decades due to the increasing concern regarding the levels of dietary fat and cholesterol in the diet. Fish and seafood is considered as a healthy alternative to meat since it contains less saturated fat than meat and also offers omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that provides a number of health benefits.
Since the consumption of fish and seafood has increased, it also led to an increase in cases of allergic reactions. It is important to note that allergy to fish and shellfish affects some highly sensitive individuals. Seafood allergy is quite common in adults than children and tends to last for a lifetime.
What are the symptoms of fish and seafood allergy?
The outline of symptoms after the consumption of fish and seafood is comparable to other foods. The common symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, wheezing, abdominal pain, flushing, rhinitis, urticarial rashes and swelling. Take note that fatal reactions have been reported that can lead to death if not treated promptly. A severe reaction is treated with an epinephrine shot and immediate emergency care at the hospital.
Even though some individuals complain of significant allergic reactions to the smell of a particular food, this is considered uncommon for most foods. On the other hand, fish and seafood is an important exception that you should be well aware of. A percentage of individuals with seafood allergy can experience a reaction to the steam or vapor produced during cooking particularly grilling and on the barbeque. The reason for this is that fish and seafood release small proteins during the cooking process that can trigger an allergic reaction in the airways and lungs.
Considerations to bear in mind
Individuals who are allergic to one class of seafood can often tolerate those from another class. Most individuals who have an allergy to shellfish such as prawns can still eat finned fish. Similarly, those who are highly sensitive to tuna can often eat prawns. Nevertheless, cross-reactivity within a class is common, thus an individual who is allergic to a particular fish such as salmon such avoid all finned fish.
Individuals who are allergic to crustaceans should also be careful when eating squid and oyster. In studies conducted, it was discovered that there might be some cross-sensitivity with these foods. Even though a number of individuals with fish allergy also report sensitivity to shellfish, latest studies indicate that this is probably two different allergies existing simultaneously and not cross-reactivity between crustacean and fish.
Remember that the cross-reactivity amid finned fish and other seafood are more common among children than adults. With this in mind, a child who is allergic to one type of fish or seafood must undergo proper assessment by a doctor in order to determine what other types of seafood to be avoided.