Allergy on shellfish is an abnormal response by the immune system of the body to proteins in some marine animals like shrimp and crabs. Some people with allergy on shellfish reacts to all types which ranges from mild symptoms such as hives or a stuffy nose and severe reactions that can be life threatening.
Causes of shellfish allergy
Allergies on foods are caused by an overreaction of the immune system of the body where the immune system identifies the shellfish protein as harmful and produces antibodies to the shellfish protein or allergen. The next time the body comes in contact with the allergen, the immune system will release histamine and other chemicals that will trigger the symptoms of allergy.
Symptoms of crab allergy
- After eating a dish that contains crab, there are itching sensations throughout the body and followed by rashes and hives.
- Difficulty in breathing and throat irritation caused by swelling of the windpipe and mucus membrane of the throat. If this occurs, it is time to seek medical help immediately.
- The person will have diarrhea and vomiting with abdominal cramps.
- The affected person will experience dizziness and tightness of the chest.
- Anaphylaxis which is a very dangerous situation involves dizziness, low blood pressure and difficulty in breathing. This requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of prawn allergy
- The affected person will have hives and rashes on the skin
- Coughing and difficulty in breathing
- Sneezing and watery eyes
- The face and other parts of the body are swollen
- Abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea
- Swelling of the throat and difficulty in swallowing
- Anaphylaxis which is a life threatening condition that needs medical help immediately.
Once an individual experiences any of the following symptoms after eating crab or shrimp, it might indicate an allergic reaction. A doctor should be consulted for a proper diagnosis in which the individual will undergo allergy testing to determine the exact allergen.
Complications of shrimp and crab allergy
A person with shellfish allergy like shrimp and crab face a high risk of anaphylaxis if he/she has certain conditions such as asthma, an allergic reaction to small amounts of shellfish and a history of food-induced anaphylaxis.
Treatment and home remedies of shrimp and crab allergy
- Avoid eating seafood and shellfish if the affected person has history of shrimp and crab allergy.
- Drink substantial amount of fluids if the individual experiences vomiting and diarrhea. Combine lemon juice, salt and sugar in a glass of water and drink this several times a day to balance out the loss of fluid in the body.
- Take prescribed antihistamine medications.
- Apply aloe vera for skin rashes and itchiness or applying cold sponge to lessen the discomfort
- Eat vitamin C rich foods and eat banana or pomegranate if diarrhea is present
- Drink lime water that is mixed with honey every morning in order to enhance the immune system of the body.