Shellfish allergy is fairly common and shellfish is among the 8 foods or food groups that make up 90% of all serious allergic reactions in the US (CDC).
Some people are allergic to all kinds of shellfish while others only react to certain shellfish like shrimp and lobster.
Depending on the level of sensitivity, a tiny piece of shellfish can produce a serious allergic reaction.
Adults seem to be more likely to have a shellfish allergy. Women react more often than men. In children, it is the other way around, boys suffer more often than girls.
The reaction can start within a couple of minutes after coming in contact with the shellfish (whether the person touches it or ingests it). Symptoms are not the same for everybody.
In mild cases, we see symptoms such as:
- Itchy skin,
- A tingly feeling in or around the mouth or throat,
- Hives or eczema,
- Abdominal pain,
- Runny or stuffy nose.
In more severe cases, we may encounter:
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or other body parts,
- Severe stomach cramps,
- Throwing up and/or diarrhea,
- Coughing and wheezing.
In extreme cases, a patient may suffer from anaphylaxis, which is a medical emergency. Symptoms that you may suffer during an anaphylactic reaction could include:
- Swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing,
- Drop in blood pressure and racing pulse,
- Dizziness and even passing out.
The Allergy Kit can be a great tool when it comes to eliminating shellfish allergy, but there is a warning.
If you know you may suffer from anaphylactic shock, can do the treatment but with a surrogate. This means you don't touch the vial yourself, instead you should have somebody else help you and hold the vial.
After treatment(s), you must get tested to be absolutely sure that you are no longer allergic before you consume shellfish again.
You do this treatment at your own risk!