Many people all over the world suffer from food allergies and most are allergic to seafood. Even though any food can cause an allergy, most cases of allergies are caused by eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, wheat, shellfish and fish. Unlike with other allergies, fish allergy can develop during adulthood. Take note that it is not unusual for an individual who has been eating fish for many years to abruptly experience a serious allergic reaction.
The occurrence of fish allergy is higher in some countries especially if fish is a main part of the diet. In some parts of the world, fish is consumed on a regular basis and a small percentage of the population is allergic to fish.
Symptoms of fish allergy
Fish allergy can occur once the immune system detects a protein that it considers as a threat. As a result, the body will protect itself from this threat by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream. Take note that these chemicals will trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
The reaction to fish can start with a tingling sensation, severe itchiness and a metallic taste in the mouth. These can quickly progress to the severe symptoms. Even though each individual will react in a different way, other symptoms include a warm sensation, hives, coughing, wheezing, coughing, cramping, vomiting and swelling of the throat and mouth. As the reaction progresses, the individual will experience difficulty breathing, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness. If left untreated, a severe reaction can eventually lead to death.
A severe allergic reaction to fish is also called anaphylaxis. This can affect more than two body systems and progresses at a rapid rate. A skin reaction is accompanied by a respiration problem such as breathing difficulty.
The symptoms typically start within minutes after exposure but can take up to two hours to appear. A mild reaction would only require an antihistamine to ease the symptoms. On the other hand, most reactions are severe and require medical care. A shot of epinephrine can be used to temporarily counteract the allergic reaction. An injectable epinephrine such as EpiPen can be carried by the individual wherever he/she goes. Even if the symptoms subside after an EpiPen is used, the individual must still seek emergency medical attention since it is possible to experience the symptoms again after the medication wears off. If you want to learn more on how to deal with allergies, click here.
Most cases of fish allergy can last for a lifetime. Cod and salmon are responsible for most cases of fish allergies. Nevertheless, many doctors recommend that if an individual is allergic to a single type of fish, it is best to avoid all fish.
How to prevent fish allergy
The best way to avoid fish allergy is to avoid fish. Nevertheless, this would require the individual not to eat fish. Always remember that fish proteins can go airborne during the cooking process, especially if boiled. The risk for cross-contamination must also be considered if an individual is allergic to fish.