Seafood Allergies Common For Adults

Posted on: Tue, 07/13/2004 - 9:48am
synthia's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/05/2002 - 09:00

Seafood Allergies Common for Adults

Tuna, Salmon, Shellfish Can Cause Serious Allergic Reactions

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
on Tuesday, July 13, 2004
More From WebMD

Like This Article? Send It to a Friend

July 13, 2004 -- Shrimp, lobster, clams: Americans love seafood. But many adults will develop a severe allergy to shellfish as well as tuna and salmon.

Some 7 million Americans are thought to be affected, or 2.3% of the population, according to a nationwide survey.

"This study showed that seafood allergy often develops in adulthood, that most persons have multiple reactions, and that reactions often include severe symptoms," writes lead researcher Scott H. Sicherer, MD, with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

His study appears in this month's issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

Researchers define "seafood" as finned fish (tuna, cod, salmon) and shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, clams, squid). An allergic reaction to certain proteins in seafood can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis -- a sudden, severe, potentially fatal reaction that results in low blood pressure and throat swelling, making breathing difficult. Seafood allergies can also cause a severe skin reaction or can trigger an asthma attack.

According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, food-induced anaphylaxis causes approximately 30,000 emergency room visits and about 150 to 200 deaths each year in the U.S.

Despite the potential lethal nature of the reaction, few studies have looked at exactly how common seafood allergy is, Sicherer says.

His nationwide telephone survey involved almost 15,000 adults who answered detailed questions about finfish and shellfish -- identifying individuals in their homes who had a seafood allergy, including positive allergy skin test reaction or blood tests or an allergic reaction from eating fish. The volunteers also produced information on the ages when these reactions first occurred.

Sicherer found that both fish and shellfish allergies were more commonly found among adults ages 40 to 60. Also:

*

6% of households had at least one person with a seafood allergy.
*

3% of adults had any seafood allergies, compared with 0.6% of children.
*

4% of women had seafood allergies, compared with 2% of men.
*

40% of fish allergies and 60% of shellfish allergies began in adulthood.
*

For about 10% of those surveyed, the worst reactions were caused by touching or smelling fish.
*

Hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and tightened throat were the most common symptoms.
*

Salmon, tuna, catfish, and cod were the fish that most commonly caused reactions.
*

Shrimp was the most common type of shellfish that caused reactions.

Only 9% of allergic people in Sicherer's study had a prescription for epinephrine, which halts the reaction. Yet 16% reported having been given the medication to halt an allergic reaction to fish in the past. "This discrepancy highlights the need for improved awareness and education about seafood allergies," he writes.

Since many people surveyed were reporting allergic reactions but were not actually tested for a food allergy, his results may be somewhat conservative, he says.

SOURCES: Sicherer, S. Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, July 2004: pp 159-165. WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Understanding Anaphylaxis."

Posted on: Tue, 07/13/2004 - 2:02pm
persnicketyFriend's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/14/2004 - 09:00

Thank you for posting this. Very interesting information! My DH has a severe seafood allergy. He nearly died on our honeymoon. He had to be taken to a hospital and have an epi shot, and the doctor told him to stay away from ALL fish, including tuna. He has, but he doesn't carry his epi pen with him, and he's pretty lax about it. I'll print this off and show him!
Thanks again!

Posted on: Tue, 07/13/2004 - 11:08pm
synthia's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/05/2002 - 09:00

Your welcome!
Love this site
Synthia

Posted on: Wed, 07/14/2004 - 6:01am
NutsBugMe's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/25/2003 - 09:00

Synthia,
Thank you for sharing the above info. Seafood is my "other" severe allergy. I have been allergic to nuts and seafood my entire life. Both allergies have gotten worse as I have aged (I'm now in my early 40's). My screen name should be Nuts&FishBugMe! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Take care,
Terri

More Community Posts

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

create a new community post
Latest Post by absfabs Fri, 11/15/2019 - 5:32pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by Italia38 Tue, 11/12/2019 - 2:43pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by absfabs Mon, 11/11/2019 - 1:23pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:10pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 11:47am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 3:43pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 2:48pm
Comments: 7
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 11/05/2019 - 3:44pm
Comments: 12
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 11/05/2019 - 3:35pm
Comments: 13
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/05/2019 - 2:11pm
Comments: 6
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/05/2019 - 2:09pm
Comments: 5
Latest Post by chicken Tue, 11/05/2019 - 12:06pm
Comments: 5
Latest Post by sunshinestate Mon, 11/04/2019 - 1:44pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 10/31/2019 - 11:20am
Comments: 2

More Articles

For people who suffer from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can result from an allergy to...

Anaphylactic shock (A-nuh-fih-LAK-tik shok): A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been...

In 1963 the American Medical Association designed a special symbol that would alert emergency medical personnel of special medical conditions when...

Finding allergy-free foods for an office potluck may seem impossible, but more options are available than you might think. Eating foods prepared...

One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is determine whether his or her toddler has a cold or a...

More Articles

More Articles

You no doubt have your own way of teaching people about your child’s food allergy, a way that suits your temperament, and style of communication....

Reliable peanut allergy statistics are not that easy to come by. There is a lot of available research on food allergies in general but not too...

Most people know that to enjoy whatever food safety accommodations an airline offers they need to inform the airline of their allergy prior to...

A 504 plan* documents food allergy accommodations agreed to by parents and their child’s school. Plans are typically created during a 504 meeting...

If there is a child at your children's school allergic to peanuts, the school probably discourages or may not allow peanut products to be brought...

If you are on a budget, but you need to wear some sort of notification that you have a peanut...

Unless we consciously carve out time for self-care, constant food allergy management can slowly erode our sense of well-being. Signs of allergy-...

Peanuts cause more severe food allergic reactions than other foods, followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts and eggs. Although there is only a...

If you avoid peanuts, it’s likely you know the joy of cashews. Slightly sweet and smooth in texture, cashews provide not only relief to those with...

The prevalence of food allergy has dramatically increased over the past two to three decades, and not just among children. Preliminary results...

When someone in the family is diagnosed with a food allergy, a choice must be made whether to ban the problem food or foods from the home. The...

Looking for a fun way to share what you know about your own food allergies? Or are you hoping to educate the people around you in a fun way about...

According to the results of a new study, children lacking Vitamin D may be more susceptible to food allergies. Researchers working at the Albert...

If you or your child has a peanut or nut allergy, identifying the presence of nuts in food becomes a priority, but what if the written or spoken...

Soap allergies can cause a lot of discomfort and itching. If you suddenly develop a rash or bumps on your skin, you may suspect that you have an...