Many of the most severe allergic reactions to food are caused by shellfish. If you experience a reaction to shellfish, this means it’s crucial that you find food allergy treatment from an experienced allergist. Unfortunately, many allergy sufferers in Atlanta don’t know the signs to look out for. Here is what you need to know about shellfish allergies.
What Are the Main Signs of a Shellfish Allergy?
The symptoms of a shellfish allergy will vary, but some of the following signs are most common.
- Stomach pains
- Breathing difficulties
- Skin rash
- Swollen lips or tongue
- Runny nose
Severe reactions to eating shellfish can lead to anaphylaxis. Here are some of the signs to look for.
- Stomach cramps
- Increased heartbeat
- Swollen throat
- Severe breathing issues
If you experience a mild allergic reaction after consuming shellfish, contact a food allergy doctor for a diagnosis. In the case of anaphylaxis or a severe reaction, it’s important to contact emergency services. Using an epinephrine auto-injector in the moments after a severe reaction can prevent serious consequences.
What Are the Important Points About Shellfish Allergies?
Shellfish are categorized into two groups, mollusks and crustaceans.
- Mollusks – Shrimp, lobster, crab, prawn.
- Crustaceans – oysters, scallops, squid, mussels, clams.
It is entirely possible to be allergic to just one category of shellfish, or to both of them. To determine precisely what allergens you should be cautious of, your allergist will conduct allergy testing.
It is also possible to experience an allergic reaction immediately after eating shellfish, or later, after hours have passed. Shellfish allergies can be unpredictable, highlighting the need for an accurate diagnosis.
Another important point that separates shellfish allergies from many other food allergies is its onset in adults. Both adults and children can be affected, but shellfish allergies can occur unexpectedly during adulthood. While most food allergies start during childhood, shellfish allergies can begin during the adult years without any prior signs.
Finally, if you experience mild signs of a shellfish allergy, don’t expect these symptoms to remain the same. An allergic reaction to shellfish often gets progressively worse, increasing the need for a fast diagnosis and treatment plan.
How Do You Treat a Shellfish Allergy?
First, you should stop eating shellfish after you recognize the signs of an allergic reaction. You can then make an appointment with an allergist and get tested for specific allergens. Your allergy doctor may recommend an epinephrine auto-injector as a precaution.
Additionally, a limited number of allergists like Dr. Chacko offer oral immunotherapy treatment to desensitize the immune system to shellfish. While not a complete cure, this treatment can significantly reduce the chances of an allergic reaction.
Get Effective Treatment for a Shellfish Allergy
If you suffer from an allergic reaction to shellfish, it’s important to seek assistance. Dr. Chacko is an experienced allergist working from locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth and Johns Creek. To make an appointment, call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment online.