Find Allergy Help Header


Shellfish Allergies Symptoms & Treatments

This basic overview tells you almost everything you need to know about shellfish allergy. Biologically speaking, shellfish are aquatic invertebrates rather than fish. People who are shellfish-allergic may be able to eat fish, and vice versa - unless they have both allergies.

Recently diagnosed with a shellfish allergy? Here's all you need to know to get started living with shellfish allergies, from foods containing shellfish to how seafood allergies affect your risk of anaphylaxis to whether people with shellfish allergies can use iodine.

Although certain shellfish are rich in iodine, there is no evidence that shellfish allergies raise the risk of an iodine allergy, nor that people with shellfish allergies need to take precautions to avoid iodine when undergoing medical tests. Iodine is not related to the protein that causes shellfish allergies.

Along with nuts, shellfish allergies are the most common food cause of anaphylaxis. Shellfish allergies are the most common allergy among adults in America, and they are more likely than most other allergies to manifest for the first time in adults.

Shellfish allergies are allergies to two classes of foods: mollusks which include clams, mussels, and oysters and crustaceans which include shrimp, lobster, and crabs . So, many people who are allergic to any shellfish are advised to avoid all shellfish.

For some people, even a tiny amount of shellfish can cause a serious reaction. Shellfish includes animals with shells, such as clams, lobster and shrimp, as well as octopus and squid. Shellfish includes animals with shells, such as clams, lobster and shrimp, as well as octopus and squid.


Does Iodine Allergy Mean a Shellfish Allergy Too?. For some reason certain allergies get linked together even though they may be totally unrelated. This is what has happened with iodine and shellfish. There is no actual relationship between iodine allergy and the various seafood allergies.


Although symptoms of shellfish allergy can range from hives, vomiting or nasal congestion to more-severe and even life-threatening symptoms. The most common symptoms of shellfish allergy are hives urticaria and major redness and swelling below the skin angioedema.

Shellfish allergies are a major cause of anaphylactic shock. The proteins that are most likely to cause food allergies are not found in the shell, and recent studies have indicated that glucosamine is safe for people with shellfish allergies; however, if you are concerned, you can try vegetarian glucosamine.


Because shellfish are one of the eight most common allergens in the United States, they are covered by FALCPA the FDA's Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act . This requires that the presence of shellfish be listed on labels in clear English, either in bold type or following the list of ingredients after the word "Contains " However, FALCPA only refers to crustaceans, and not to mollusks. Shellfish are relatively easier to avoid in the diet than most of the other most common allergens.

What Can You Do?

Beyond eating at restaurants, the greatest challenge in living with a shellfish allergy is likely the fact that shellfish allergies pose a greater risk of anaphylactic shock than many food allergies. If you suffer from a shellfish allergy, strictly avoiding shellfish and food containing shellfish is the only way to prevent a reaction.

If your doctor is able to identify exactly which type of shellfish causes your allergies, than you only need to eliminate that type of shellfish from your diet.

The fish and shellfish allergy necessitates not eating in seafood restaurants at a minimum. And may include not eating where fried foods are prepared if fish and shellfish are on the menu. For the shellfish allergic, stay away from all shelled fish- crab, lobster, shrimp and snails.

Also, keep in mind that imitation shell fish may still contain shellfish as many manufactures add shellfish for flavoring Before you use it, read the label to be sure.


Different types of shellfish have high rates of cross-reactions with other types of shellfish, as noted above. The protein that most commonly causes shellfish allergies tropomyosin is also found in dust mites and cockroaches, and there is some evidence of cross-reactivity between shellfish and some insects.

If the same pair of tongs is used to handle different types of fish and shellfish, or if you suspect one type of fish or shellfish may have spilled over and had contact with another, you should avoid buying or consuming. People have even been known to go into anaphylactic shock after breathing in airborne particles of shellfish or fish allergen in open fish markets.

If you're like me, those of you out there with shellfish allergies may also need to avoid freshwater shellfish. Just be very careful because many things at restaurants are contaminated by shellfish cooking on the same grill. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Find Allergy Help

Shellfish Allergies Symptoms & Treatments Home
Shellfish Allergies Symptoms & Treatments Site Map

 Copyright © 2006-2007 is solely to be used as an informational provider and should never be used to replace contact with your licensed healthcare provider.