What Are the Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to Shellfish?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of shellfish allergy include swelling, itching, tingling in the mouth, wheezing and abdominal pain, states Mayo Clinic. Medical attention is necessary for such symptoms, which occur when the body's immune system reacts to proteins in shellfish, such as crab, oysters and shrimp.

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Other shellfish allergy symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing and hives, according to Mayo Clinic. The symptoms may occur a few minutes after eating the marine animals or up too an hour later. Anaphylaxis, a life-endangering allergic reaction that requires immediate medical care, may occur after eating shellfish. Symptoms include shock that occurs along with serious hypotension, breathing problems that result from airway constriction, dizziness, unconsciousness and fast heart rhythm.

A family history of any type of allergy is a risk factor for shellfish allergy, reports Mayo Clinic. Adult females and young males have high chances of developing the condition. A physical examination, blood tests and skin tests can help determine the exact cause and best treatment for the allergy.

Individuals with shellfish allergy should avoid the animals and related products, according to Mayo Clinic. Antihistamines and other medications may help relieve symptoms, such as itching. Carrying an epinephrine injector at all times is helpful for patients who suffer from anaphylaxis. Avoiding shellfish processing areas and reading food labels before purchasing foods may help prevent the problem.

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