Are shellfish and fish allergies the same thing?
Seafood allergies are more common in adults than in young children, and about one in 100 people have a seafood allergy (via Best Health Channel). When a person is allergic to fish or shellfish (or any other food), the body’s immune system overreacts to certain proteins found in seafood (e.g. Nemours KidsHealth). It then releases chemicals called histamines because it thinks allergens are toxic invaders. When this happens, an allergic reaction occurs.
These reactions can vary in severity and from person to person. Some common symptoms shared by Nemours KidsHealth include wheezing, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, hives, and swelling. In some cases, shellfish or fish allergies can be life-threatening. This is called anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction. According to Better Health Channel, symptoms of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, throat tightness, tongue swelling, and collapsing.
For this reason, if you are allergic to fish, it is best to avoid all fish and products that may contain fish ingredients, such as tuna, mackerel, cod, trout, anchovies, sushi , some salad dressings, fish sauce and products fortified with omega-3 (eg. Healthy eating advisory service). If you’re allergic to shellfish, the Healthy Eating Advisory Service recommends giving up shrimp, lobster, mussels, octopus, abalone, scallops, squid ink, shrimp crackers and Asian food, among other potential culprits. Finally, if you think you have a severe food allergy to fish or shellfish, talk to your doctor right away, as you may need an epinephrine auto-injector in an emergency.