Fish and different types of seafood play an important part in the human diet, but they can also be potent food allergens. Fish allergy is one of the most common childhood food allergies and it often persists into adulthood. Allergic reactions to fish develop due to a muscle protein called parvalbumin that is present in fish in plenty and plays the role of relaxing muscles from contraction.
Kids usually start to experience allergic symptoms after digesting, handling or inhaling cooking vapors of fish or other seafood. Reactions can vary from a slight tingling sensation in the mouth to a potentially life-threatening condition (anaphylaxis). such symptoms as watery and itchy eyes, swelling of the face, atopic dermatitis worsening, acute hives and angioedema, difficulty breathing, wheezing, rhinitis, asthma, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness and fainting are characteristic of this type of childhood food allergies. Sometimes adverse reaction of non-allergic nature may occur due to fish contamination with certain substances.
It was earlier believed that a person with fish allergy should stay away from all kinds of fish. However, researchers discovered that allergic individuals may develop reactions to one kind of fish and have no reactions to another. although many experts say that there isn’t any cross-reaction between fish and shellfish, there are kids allergic to both. moreover, allergic reactions commonly occur to various kinds of fish and shellfish. to determine a certain type of childhood food allergies skin prick testing is usually performed. Both fish and shellfish skin prick tests are available. The first one is often a combination of such fish as tuna, cod, mackerel and salmon. The second one combines all possible kinds of shellfish. some kids allergic to shellfish have no allergies to mollusks like oysters, clams, scallops and mussels. Separate testing is also can be done to define exact types of fish or shellfish which children allergic to.
Sometimes allergic and non-allergic reactions may be very similar. So, if children experience unusual symptoms like hives, swelling or wheezing and it is not their first exposure to certain seafood, there is a possibility of spoiled product that may contain harmful substances. If this is not the first exposure to fish or shellfish, we can talk about childhood food allergies that are better to be confirmed by the specialist with the help of an appropriate allergy test.
The process of seafood canning sometimes changes the allergenic protein enough that allergic individuals are able to eat canned products without any consequences.
People with shellfish allergies are sometimes warned against allergies to iodine, but in fact there is no connection between them. it is the muscle protein in the flesh but not iodine that causes allergies to shellfish.
As with other childhood food allergies, the best way to escape allergic reactions to seafood is avoidance of their triggers. If your child suffers from fish or shellfish allergy you must be on alert when eating out at restaurants which serve seafood as cross-contamination can happen during cooking. Shellfish allergic kids should avoid all shelled fish such as shrimp, lobster, crab and snails; mollusks are also recommended to be stood away from. such vitamins as Glucosamine and Chondroitin are contraindicated for the individuals that have shellfish allergy. And, of cause, reading labels is a must for parents of children with allergies to fish and/or shellfish. in case you don’t know the nature of certain ingredient, avoid it. Every allergist can provide you with a list of ingredients that may indicate allergenic protein.
If you want to know what to do in case of a sudden onset of seafood allergy, consult the doctor about possible treatment. Medicines for such kind of childhood food allergies include antihistamines which reduce itchiness, swelling and rashes. The specialist may as well advise your child to carry an injectable epinephrine, particularly if he or she is at risk of severe allergic reaction.
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