Hypersensitivity type may be- Type I Allergy
Immune reactions may be from- IgE
Reactions may occur in- Minutes
Plants, Trees and other natural growing foods aren't the only main causes for allergies. One of the largest growing and common allergies is the Shellfish Allergy, which is an allergy to the protein in Crustaceans and Mollusks.
Crustaceans and Mollusks are consumed in large quantities all over Australia, either whole or as an ingredient. They are also used in many common everyday products. (scroll below to see the some common places it can be found in).
Both Crustaceans and Mollusks do not have backbones, however they are not the same.
People may be allergic to one group but not the other, or even to a specific shellfish in a group but not the others.
Let's take a deeper dive into the types of Shellfish:
- Crustaceans are Arthropods.
- They have segmented bodies that are covered by a crust like firm shell.
- Crustaceans include:
- Sea Urchin
- Mollusks are Gastropods, Bivalves and Cephalopods.
- They have partially or fully covered soft bodies that are covered by hard shells.
- Mollusks include:
- Snail (land and sea)
- Squid (Calamari)
Finned Fish and Shellfish are not related, but due to the storage and preparation, cross-contamination may occur leading to symptoms.
SHELLFISH are one of the 10 most common food allergens in Australia, that all together account for 90% of food allergies in Australia.
Some of the symptoms may be characterised by:
- Chest congestion
- Pale or blue colouring of the skin
- Repeated coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach cramps
- Tightness in throat, hoarse voice
- Tingling in the mouth
- Trouble breathing
- Urticaria/ Hives
- Weak pulse
- Asthma aggravation
The validity and severity of these symptoms are dependent on the individual and the level of exposure, as determined by a qualified health care provider.
If you experience or are in the presence of someone that encounters an immediate serious reaction (this may include difficulty breathing, wheezing, throat tightening, swelling, collapse, etc), call or have someone call triple zero (000) immediately.
In the case of a minor allergic reaction, people may use Antihistamines along with other medications based on their individual symptoms and prescribed treatments.
For severe allergic reactions Epinephrine may be used, followed by seeking emergency medical attention. However, some people may not be able to use Epinephrine due to particular reasons.
It’s important for anyone with an Allergy, to discuss treatments with a qualified health care provider to understand how to manage individual allergies and also to set up an Allergy Action Plan in the case of a reaction.
Always present your Allergy Card, Medical Alert Bracelet or Necklace to ensure health care providers, family members, friends, colleagues and others are aware of your Allergy or Allergies.
A skin prick test or blood test may be used to test for a Shellfish Allergy.
Some labels or terms you may come across on Shellfish Allergy friendly products:
- General- "Shellfish Free" "No Shellfish"
- Specific - "No Crustaceans" "No Molluscs"
RANDOM ALLERGY FACT
Lobsters may be a delicacy now days, however in the 16th century they were fed to prisoners as a form of punishment.
WHERE YOU MAY COME ACROSS SHELLFISH
The below is not a complete list, but just some of the places you may come across Shellfish:
- Breakfast cereals
- Caesar salads
- Calcium supplements
- Corn/rice thins
- Deli fish
- Deli meats
- Fish food
- Fish sauce
- Flavoured oil
- Foods from bakeries
- French Fries
- HemCon bandages
- Mam tom
- Marinara sauce
- Marinated cheeses
- Marinated meats
- Nam prik
- Omega-3 supplements
- Oyster sauce
- Pescatore sauce
- Pet food
- Potato chips
- Ready made spices
- Seafood extender
- Worcestershire sauce
The information provided on Allergy Life Australia is to generally educate and inform you about living with allergies, intolerances and conditions, and is not intended as medical instruction or as a substitute for diagnosis, examination and advice by a qualified health care provider.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER PLACES YOU HAVE COME ACROSS SHELLFISH? HAVE YOU HAD AN EXPERIENCE WITH A SHELLFISH ALLERGY OR KNOW SOMEONE THAT HAS? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW