The main symptoms of an allergy to shrimp and other shellfish are dizziness, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, tingling in the mouth, abdominal discomfort and swelling around the mouth, throat or hands, notes Healthline. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and fainting sometimes happen as well.
The cause for most shrimp allergies is a reaction to tropomyosin, a protein in the muscular tissue of a shrimp. Antibodies release histamines to go after the tropomyosin, triggering the symptoms. While some cases are mild, others are potentially fatal. Most symptoms show up within a matter of minutes after consuming the shrimp, as stated by Healthline.
In serious cases, the shrimp allergy triggers anaphylactic shock, necessitating immediate emergency medical care. Signs that anaphylaxis has set in include an elevated pulse, a significant drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and extreme dizziness or swelling in the throat that hinders breathing, according to Healthline.
As of 2015, no cure exists for shrimp allergies. The best practice is to stay away from such foods as shrimp, crab, lobster and any other crustaceans. If eating in a restaurant that serves seafood, inquire about preparation, as even a sauce or broth with a shrimp base potentially triggers allergic reactions. It's wise to carry epinephrine in an EpiPen in the event of accidental exposure. Deaths from shrimp allergies are rare, but they happen more often than with other types of food allergies, reports Healthline.