Seafood Allergy


Can anyone tell me more about seafood allergy! For example, it you are allergic to seafood do you avoid all fish? ...or just shellfish? etc... What is most prominent etc...

I have avoided all fish to this point but want to begin introducing fish to my 5 year old daughter. Any recommendations on what fish to start with?

Any links on seafood allergy would be greatly appreciated!

On Mar 25, 2001

There are many "classes" in seafood allergy, like crustaceans , mollusks , fish.. WIth a rast test your allergist should be able to test for individual types of fish like tuna, cod, or crustacians like crab, shrimp, lobster, etc. When my son was first diagnosed with food allergies I was told he was severely allergic to all seafood. four years later, when tested again, my new allergist said he is not showing any antibodies in the rast. He said I could introduce him to some if I wanted to find out. My answer NO WAY! (I have had MANY doctors give me BAD INFORMATION in the past, I am much more careful now.) my thought is that he has no antibodies because he has never injested any seafood in his life...why should I introduce him to something they told me a few years ago he was deathly allergic to? We don't live on an island.. he can live fine without fish.. when he gets much older and decides he would like to try it then we can deal with it. Seafood allergy is can be fatal... I would only introduce a questionable food under the advice of a professional allergist and then with much thought.

On Mar 25, 2001

My daughter has never tested positive to seafood. I have just avoided for the same reasons you have because it's a very allergic food.

She is presently allergic to peanuts, milk and eggs. ...and has outgrown rice, soy and had a hard time in the beginning to corn and peas but now is fine.

I wanted to try to expand her diet a bit and thought maybe I could try tuna.

I didn't realize the different classifications you mentioned above, I think I'll get a hold of the allergist and ask if he has tested her for all different types or not. Thanks for the info.

On Mar 25, 2001

This thread has reminded me of something that happened to me when I was a teen. My parents took me to the hospital because I was covered head to toe with huge hives. They took me in because the hives were so bad that my legs were turning blue. At the time, I guess not alot was known about allergies but the ER doctor figured out that I had had a reaction to crab which I had eaten for the first time that day. Nothing ever came of it but I have to say, I have never eaten crab again and avoid seafood (other that fish) in general, never liked it. The only other "reaction" (if you can call it that)I had was after eating mussels for the first time, I was violently ill, vomitting, dizzy, crazy but I thought I was gonna die. I don't really think it was a reaction, I probably just ate a "bad" one. My dh and a friend had the same food (it was prepared by the friend) and neither one was ill. Makes me wonder.


Katiee (Wade's mom)

On Mar 25, 2001

Katiee: I'm not sure if I read your post correctly. Did you say you avoid seafood but do eat fish? If so what type of fish do you eat?

I'm definitely not going to try the seafood with her.

On Mar 25, 2001

I have no problem with fish, except shell fish. I have a bad allergy to shell fish. Andy

On Mar 25, 2001


I do eat fish, as in cod, salmon etc. but I'm hesitant to try "any" other shellfish because of what happened.



On Mar 25, 2001

Below is some info I got from allergy web sites. Fish allergy is more common among children, while shellfish allergy is more common among adults.

Both tend to be lifelong allergies. Here is the article:


Fish allergies are more common in children, whereas shell fish allergies seem be more prevalent in adults. Some breast-fed infants have been sensitized to cod via their mother's milk. These allergies do not usually go away or diminish with age. These allergies usually last a lifetime with the reactions becoming more severe with each subsequent exposure.

Fish Allergy

It is estimated that about 22 percent of all populations suffer from a fish allergy. The fish commonly known to cause allergic reactions include cod, salmon, trout, herring, sardines, bass, orange roughy, swordfish, halibut, and tuna.

Severe asthmatic attacks can be triggered by the smell of fish in a sensitive person. Even anaphylactic shock has been reported after eating foods cooked in reused cooking oil, or when utensils and containers have been used earlier for cooking fish. Shell fish Allergy

The shell fish commonly known to cause allergic reactions include shrimp, crab, crayfish, lobster, oysters, clams, scallops, mussels, squid, and snails.

Shrimp is usually associated with seafood allergies. Those allergic to shrimp often suffer from respiratory allergy. Crab is also a potent allergen. Shrimp, lobster, and craw fish contain common major allergens, making cross reactivity between shrimp and crab, and lobster and craw fish possible.


I'll post more info on exact seafood families later. BTW, Cayley has eaten both tuna and salmon with no problem, as well as clams (in a linguine dish). If allergy testing is coming up, you might want to ask to include fish/shellfish on the RAST list, just to be on the safe side. I've been nervous about fish/shellfish too (all her exposures were prior to the PA diagnosis), but I figure the damage (if any) is done. I'm still going to avoid seafood until she's at least 5 years old.

[This message has been edited by Cayley's Mom (edited March 25, 2001).]

On Mar 25, 2001

The Allergy Society of South Africa has a great web site on "Seafood Allergy"


It provides details of testing material used in South Africa which is helpful for the classifications. I would also suggest you look at Brostoff's "Food Allergy and Intolerance" Book, details in the Book Section which also has soon great lists of "allergen groups" and cross-reactivities.

SCREENING TEST Seafood Mix* (Cod fish, Shrimp, Mussel, Tuna, Salmon)

FISH Anchovy* Angelfish / Pomfret (SA)# Canadian Salmon / Geelbek (SA)# Chub Mckerel* Cob / Kabeljou (SA)# Cod fish* Eel* Hake* Hake (SA)# Halibut* Herring* Jack mackerel / Scad* Jacopeve (SA)# John Dorey (SA)# Kingklip (SA)# Mackerel* Marsbanker (SA)# Megrim / Whiff* Monkfish (SA)# Plaice* Rainbow Trout* Salmon* Sardine / Japanese Pilchard* Sardine / Pilchard* Sardine / Pilchard (SA)# Snoek (SA)# Sole* Tuna (Yellow-fin)* Anisakis (fish parasite)*

CRUSTACEA Crab* Crab (SA)# Crayfish (freshwater)* Deepwater Prawn / Pink Shrimp Lobster* Langoustine* Rock Lobster, East Coast (SA)# Rock Lobster, South Coast (SA)# Kreef (SA)# Shrimp (SA)# Tiger Prawn (SA)# Zebra Prawn (SA)#

MOLLUSCS Abalone / Perlemoen* Abalone / Perlemoen (SA)# Black Mussel (SA)# Blue Mussel* Clam* Flying Squid* Limpet (SA)# Octopus* Oyster* Periwinkle (SA)# Ribbed Mussel (SA)# Scallop* Snail* Squid* White Mussel (SA)# White Squid / Chokka (SA)#

[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited March 25, 2001).]

On Mar 25, 2001

To Peanut Trace: If you were thinking of maybe introducing canned tuna to your child just be careful. If they are milk allergic, many canned tunas' have casein in it. As you probably already know, casein is a milk protein. My son was allergic to milk(now he is 8 and only mildly allergic to milk) and I couldn't give it to him. What do you feed a small child!? PB&J, grilled cheese and tuna. Didn't leave too many options open! LOL. sorry, not a joke but just be careful. I've been through it. B-Well! [img][/img]

On Mar 26, 2001

My daughter tested positive for shellfish, but she can eat any type of fish. The biggest problem we have is avoiding cross-contamination when the fish is fried in the same oil as shellfish. She reacted this weekend because she was outside while crawfish were being boiled - never ate any. Rachel

On Mar 26, 2001

Wow, you guys! Thanks so much for all the replies and the information. I tried to search the archives but didn't find much info. there. Thanks for all your words of wisdom.

I think I'll start with checking with past allergy tests to see exactly what she has been tested for in the past. Then, I 'll do some new tests, before taking the plunge.

Man this life is stressful, isn't it! Even the thought of trying something new has me all in knots. Thanks for the heads up with casein in tuna, didn't know that one, although I did know of course, to avoid casein.

Thanks again, much appreciated!

On Mar 26, 2001

Thanks, Cayley's Mom, for those statistics on fish allergy. There are so many ignorant people out there--my son is allergic to cod and other fish like that--who are always telling us that a person can only be allergic to shellfish, but it's not true at all. I wonder if there's something to the breastfeeding connection. The doctor did tell us that, although my son should never eat cod etc., he might be fine with shellfish, but I confess that I have never had the will to try the experiment, so we have a fish-free, as well as nut-free house. My advice to anyone with an already allergic child is to watch the child carefully when you give him/her fish of any kind, not just shellfish, and not to do it until they are 5.

On Mar 27, 2001

My son was tested for "fin fish" as part of his allergy testing last year. They didn't test for shellfish (don't know why), but I'm going to ask that they test for shellfish this July. Better safe than sorry, I guess.....

On Mar 28, 2001

My 5-year-old PA son had one reaction to shellfish (crab) at the age of 3. He vomited and became seriously ill. When he was skin tested last October, this was confirmed with a positive test for crab. He wasn't tested for fin fish, but we avoid it anyway. Although I really enjoy many forms of seafood, I keep them away from my son. He knows he cannot have them and doesn't miss or ask for them anyway. Fortunately the shellfish allergy isn't like his PA, meaning I can have it in the house for me. Maybe when he gets older we're inquire about the fin fish, but for now, life is fine without them.

I am curious though.....has anyone else heard that if you have a shellfish allergy you are also allergic to iodine injected x-rays??? I was told by a nurse that the iodine used in these type of x-rays is similar to the iodine in shellfish and that is what the allergic reaction too. Just curious on what other people have heard. I need to ask my allergit this question at our next appointment.

On Mar 28, 2001

I'm a nurse and we always ask people about shellfish allergies when they're going for a test involving injectible dyes - there is a cross-sensitivity between the two.

On Mar 28, 2001

LisaG, could you elaborate more on the connection between seafood allergy and injectable dyes? Do you have a reference? Thanks

On Mar 29, 2001

Contrasting answers:

There are some diagnostic tests that use an iodine contrast medium. They may not be allergic to the dye, however. People allergic to seafood may react to an iodine solution that is placed on the skin (topical), or taken internally, as a contrast medium. If you need to undergo such diagnostic tests, and you have seafood allergies or have had a rash after topical application of iodine, be sure to discuss this with your physician. You could be at risk for anaphylaxis. Anytime you undergo diagnostic testing with a contrast medium, someone should be monitoring your blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate. You should mention any itchiness, agitation, nausea, or other symptoms experienced during the test. from [url=""][/url]

for the reason why...

Individuals needing x-rays with these substances are questioned also regarding an allergy to seafood, which has nothing to do with this type of reaction. This is related to one report in a medical journal dating back some twenty years that stated that such reactions occur more frequently in people allergic to seafood. This has not been corroborated since that article appeared. from [url=""][/url]

On Mar 29, 2001

I am allergic to shellfish but not fish. I also found that I react to anchovies (found in some Caesar's dressing, Thai chili) and fish sauce which is used to season a lot of Asian foods. Anything with a strong fishy odor, I avoid.

On Mar 29, 2001

I am allergic to scallops. I have only eaten them three times in my life. Everytime I became violently ill. I never made the connection to a food allergy as I had never heard of food allergies until after my son (who has multiple food allergies) was diagnosed. I never knew there was such a thing! I just knew that scallops made me VERY sick, so I stopped eating them.

Once - a while back -I had to have a CAT scan done once. I may have been asked about the allergy to shellfish. I don't know. I would have answered "no" as I didn't know what that meant. I was injected with an iodine containing substance. Shortly thereafter, I developed hives and got very dizzy. I almost passed out. I remember that I had to sit down as I was leaving the hospital and thinking that "something is wrong". I remember thinking "why would they just let me walk away if they knew that I would start to feel this bad". I was certain that I was going to faint. I didn't though. It eventually passed and I left. I always attributed that episode to the fact that "everyone" would react that way to a CAT scan. Now I know that I had an allergic reaction. I will be more careful if I ever have the need to have another test such as that one.

On Apr 22, 2001

Thanks for sharing all this information. My husband, Richard was just diagnosed with shellfish/fish allergy. He actually tested negative to the fish but has had reactions in the past. he tested positive to the shellfish and so the allergist said to avoid all fish and shellfish. he didn't prescribe an epi, which struck me as odd.


On Apr 23, 2001

Another question on this, a few days ago I cooked shrimp DH and a friend that was over. (I refuse to eat it, but the nice person I am, I will cook and peel it for whoever else wants it) Anyway, Stephen was pulling up on something and fell - while I was cooking. His earth-shattering scream sent me immediately running to him. A little while later where I had picked him up, he had huge welts. Do you think my assumption that he is allergic to shellfish too (at least shrimp) is correct or could it be something else? The only things I was cooking at that point were angel hair pasta and shrimp, which I mixed together with butter and herbs. Of course with that scream, I didn't stop to wash my hands to go get him. (He was fine, just scared himself.) So what do you think??

On Apr 23, 2001

Rae, What type of reaction did your daugther have? mild I hope. how close did she get to the cooking pot? I question because shellfish is one of the allergens that can cause reaction by smelling (so can fish, egg, peanuts,I don't know about tree nuts) I have heard of touch reaction to peanuts, eggs(even the whole shell of unbroken egg) so I guess contact could cause reaction re shellfish- for my muliply allergic child we no longer cook eggs when he's in the house- never have cooked live shellfish but have broiled crab cakes from already cooked crabmeat- I'm going to double check with allergist on safety of that. We've also brought steamed shrimp into home for company to eat. This has ben an interesting post to ponder, take care,