Shellfish allergy is a very common allergy, it usually is a lifelong disease. If you have the allergy your immune system recognises the protein in shellfish as a harmful substance.
There are severe symptoms that could be life threatening and/or just mild symptoms like:
• Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other parts of the body.
• Chest tightness, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
• Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.
• Abdominal pain.
• Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
• Hives and eczema.
• Itching all over.
One of the severe symptoms that is life threatening is anaphylaxis. Some of the symptoms include:
• Airway constriction that is caused by swollen throat or lumps in the throat.
• Drop of blood pressure and shock.
• Rapid pulse.
Tips for Shellfish Allergies
If you have a shellfish allergy or any food allergy, special precautions must be taken to avoid a reaction. Here are some suggestions:
1. Read the labels carefully. Shellfish are ingredients in food such as sauces, soup, stock, Asian food, chips and dip, salad dressing and food supplements.
2. Pay attention when eating out, many restaurants use the same oil for shrimp (shellfish), French fries and chicken.
3. Some products sold as imitation shellfish, still can contain shellfish flavouring that can also trigger a reaction.
4. Fish fingers, nuggets or burgers also contain shellfish parts, even if it does not state this on the package.
5. A reaction can also come from touching the shellfish, depends of the severity of the person’s allergic reaction.
The best treatments for this allergy are to stay away from shellfish completely. If you have mild symptoms like itching or a rash, take loratadine or diphenhudramine that is in the form of antihistamines.
Applying a calamine lotion and ice, will help the discomfort of hives by reducing the blood vessels. This will help the inflammation clear up.
Taking Peppermint tea and the milk of magnesia (milky-white liquid that is made from magnesium hydroxide, purified water, and sodium hypochlorite) helps to relieve milder symptoms.
When having more severe symptoms like anaphylaxis, the doctor will usually give an injection called epinephrine (EpiPen) .
Its highly recommended to wear a medical bracelet or necklace so that health-care workers can be aware of your condition, in case of an emergency.
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