Who gets a shellfish allergy?

Although a shellfish allergy occurs more often in adults and older children, it can appear at any age and can develop even though shellfish was previously eaten without any problems. Most people who are allergic to one type of shellfish are often allergic to other types of shellfish. Many people with a shellfish allergy will not lose the allergy over time.

What are the symptoms of a shellfish allergy?

Allergic reactions to foods usually begin within minutes to a few hours after eating the food. The severity of symptoms can vary widely from one person to another. Mildly allergic persons may have itching and a few hives, while severely allergic persons can have severe, life-threatening symptoms such as breathing problems or swelling of the throat.

The symptoms of food allergy may include any or several of the following:

  • Itching.
  • Hives.
  • Eczema.
  • Tingling or swelling of the lips, tongue or throat.
  • Chest tightness, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Wheezing.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Anaphylaxis: sudden, severe, potentially fatal, systemic allergic reaction that can involve several areas of the body.

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