Seafood Allergy

Seafood allergy is common. Most appear during childhood, but some appear later in life. Very often, it is impossible for us to find out which seafood we are allergic to, because seafood allergic reaction usually appears hours after consuming a particular seafood. 

Seafood allergy is an adverse reaction that occurs after eating certain seafood, or eating certain food that contains seafood element. It is driven by our own body’s immune system. In other words, your immune system does not like the food you consume, therefore produces antibodies against the food, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE). The next time you consume the same food, your immune system will release a huge amount of chemicals into your bloodstream causing an allergic reaction. Even a tiny amount of seafood can trigger a seafood allergic reaction.

Signs and Symptoms
  • Common seafood allergy symptoms:

    • Rashes, hives, itching of the skin
    • Itching or tingling sensation in the mouth
    • Swelling of the face, lips, around the eyes, tongue, throat
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Abdominal pain and diarrhoea
    • Wheezing and nasal congestion
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Lightheadedness
    • Dizziness

    Severe seafood allergy symptoms (Anaphylaxis):

    • Swollen tongue and throat
    • Tightening of airway
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Severe wheezing
    • Drop in blood pressure
    • Rise in pulse rate
    • Severe dizziness
    • Loss of consciousness


Treatment and Management
  • There is no cure for seafood allergy. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor and get yourself tested to identify the food you are allergic to so you can avoid it in the future.

    What you can do:

    • Get yourself tested to pinpoint the exact content of the seafood you are allergic to.
    • Avoid taking the seafood you are allergic to. Remove this from your diet completely.
    • Always read the list of ingredients on the label of each prepared food before consuming it.
    • Be very careful at restaurants. If in doubt, always check with the restaurant if the food contains ingredients that you are allergic to.
    • If you have experienced seafood allergy reaction before, your doctor may prescribe oral antihistamine or injectable adrenaline (in severe cases) for you to carry with you at all times.
    • If you have a seafood allergy, it is strongly advisable to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace, or carry a medical alert card that lets others know that you have a seafood allergy in case you have a reaction and you are unable to communicate.

    If you experience food allergy symptoms:

    • SEE A DOCTOR immediately.
    • Inform someone (family, friends, work colleagues). It is best if you can get someone to go to the doctor with you.
    • If you experience any of the severe symptoms mentioned, go to the EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT immediately.
    • If you have antihistamine or injectable adrenaline with you, use them en route to seeing a doctor.
    • Do not delay seeing a doctor because seafood allergy may be life threatening.




Allergens to Test for:

  1. Codfish
  2. Crab
  3. Shrimp
  4. Blue Mussel
  5. Tuna
  6. Salmon
  7. Clam
  8. Anchovies (Ikan Bilis)