Sophie's World Blog

101 Seafood Allergy

101 Seafood Allergy

What, exactly, is seafood allergy? We hear this term so much, but do we know how to tell the difference between a harmless fish dish and a life-threatening meal?

It's a fact that we need fish meals weekly to lead a healthy diet but if someone is suffering from a seafood allergy it's not so easy, at least he needs to be very careful when choosing ingredients.

Seafood allergy and shellfish allergy: what is the difference?

If you have seafood allergy, you have to avoid more food sources compared to having a shellfish allergy.


includes both fish (like tuna or cod) and shellfish (like lobster or clams).


relates to two different groups: crustaceans (like shrimp, crab, and lobster) and mollusks (like clams, mussels, oysters, scallops, octopus, and squid). Some people with shellfish allergies are allergic to both groups, but some might be allergic to only one.

Fish and shellfish are biologically different, so fish allergy allergens will not cause an allergic reaction to someone who has a shellfish allergy — unless that person also has a fish allergy.

How common?

This allergy type is more common than we imagine first, more than 2% of the American population, almost 6% of households have at least one person who has a seafood allergy. We can say that it's more common among women than men, and children have lesser chances of having seafood allergy than adults.

This allergy is really 'tricky.' It's as dangerous as peanut allergy as only touching the fish can cause severe symptoms. I think it's more dangerous than peanut allergy as who suffers from this can have allergic reactions even by simply smelling fish or walking through a fish market. A person who has a severe shellfish allergy has to avoid entering the kitchen while shellfish is being cooked since the proteins released into the air can also cause allergic symptoms to them.

The body handles these proteins as invaders so reacts the same with infections, but the symptoms are worse. This can cause anaphylaxis as well as peanut allergy.

Symptoms of seafood and shellfish allergy:

Symptoms can be different according to different types of shellfish or fish and reaction can be different from the same person in different times. It depends on the body's histamine value on the actual time. Anaphylaxis is caused by an unhandleable value of histamin for the body, this is why all the anaphylaxis is treated with an antihistamine injection.


  • wheezing
  • trouble breathing
  • coughing
  • hoarseness
  • throat tightness
  • stomachache
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  • hives
  • red spots
  • swelling
  • a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness

How to avoid?

If I say you need to avoid shellfish or fish, it's not so precise. When we say avoid it's not only about avoiding certain foods but also avoiding all ingredients that has been produced in the same factory where fish or shellfish are also produced/prepared. You must be very careful when eating out or on an event and read labels really carefully when shopping.

The first thing to do if you suspect a seafood allergy is to visit a doctor and take an allergy test. Then, you can plan the change needed in case of seafood allergy, which is a need if you have any kind of food allergy.



Copyright: Zsófia Michelin-Corporatum Oy, Content pictures copyrigh: Shutterstock, Development: e-Com