Your little child comes to you in tears, but they are unable to communicate what’s wrong with them vocally. After noticing that they are itching themselves, you open their shirt and notice that they have little red bumps all over their body.
Because it appears like they are having an allergic response, you begin to mentally compile a list of everything they have consumed since the beginning of the day. Oatmeal, a glass of milk, some grapes, and then you realize why you’re eating them. They devoured the crab cakes you had prepared for lunch on that particular day.
It seems as though they could be having an allergic reaction to shellfish, but you aren’t sure what the next step should be.
There are many people who are allergic to shellfish. Because it could happen at any time, it is essential to be aware of the warning symptoms of an allergic response and the appropriate treatment for it, including when to seek immediate medical attention.
What Is a Shellfish Allergy?
The grouping of animals that we refer to as shellfish can be broken down into a few distinct classes, the most prominent of which are crustaceans and mollusks. The body of crustaceans, like the lobster and the crab, are segmented, and their limbs and antennae are jointed. Mollusks, on the other hand, have bodies that are not segmented and are more pliable.
Mollusks include bivalves such as oysters and mussels.
It’s conceivable to have a shellfish allergy, but it’ll only affect particular kinds of mollusks. According to Mona Amin, MD, owner of Peds Doc Talk and a board-certified pediatrician, “in general, a food allergy arises when our body reacts to a protein in a certain food.” Peds Doc Talk is a resource for parents who have children with food allergies. Mollusks can sometimes be tolerated by those who are allergic to crustaceans but not mollusks themselves.
In spite of the common misconception, shellfish are not in fact fish, and an allergy to shellfish is quite distinct from an allergy to fish.
When Do Shellfish Allergies Develop?
It’s possible that the first time your baby eats shellfish, they’ll have an allergic reaction, but it’s also possible that they’ll be completely fine and then have a reaction when they’re older. For this reason, it is vital to be aware of the indicators of an allergy, particularly during the years that your kid may have difficulty expressing the problem. In particular, it is crucial to be aware of the signs throughout the years that your child may have difficulty eating certain foods.
According to Amanda Stovall, MD, a board certified pediatrician at Springfield Clinic in Central Illinois, who works at the Springfield Clinic, “shellfish allergies are more common in adults, but they can impact toddlers and babies at any age.” It is possible for people to develop shellfish allergies even if they have consumed shellfish in the past without any adverse reactions.
Signs and Symptoms of a Shellfish Allergy
Your child may complain that their mouth is itchy or “hairy” if they are having an allergic reaction to shellfish. This is a common symptom of shellfish allergies. It’s possible that they have hives all over their bodies.
However, you may also experience symptoms including sneezing, itchy eyes, stomach ache, or diarrhea. An allergy to shellfish can manifest itself in a number of different ways.
A person may go into anaphylactic shock in the event of a severe allergic reaction. This is a serious situation that could endanger lives.
Anaphylactic shock can be preceded by a number of symptoms, including swelling of the face, lips, or throat; difficulty breathing; difficulty speaking or swallowing; and shortness of breath.
According to Dr. Stovall, “anaphylaxis is a response of the immune system of the entire body to the allergen, such as shellfish. This means that sufferers will often have more than one symptom.” It may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours after eating shellfish for the first signs of a significant reaction to appear.