Get in the Know on Fish and Shellfish Allergies

An allergy refers to a damaging response by the body to a certain type of food, dust, fur, pollen or chemical substance. The sea has plenty to offer when it comes to food, and some of the delicacies are amazing. However, an allergy can hinder you from enjoying that mouth-watering delicacy you can't take your eyes off. Worse still, lack of information and misinformation on sea and shellfish allergies can make you forego these nice dishes for nothing. The following discussion centres on some of the important things that you must know about fish and shellfish allergies:

How Do the Allergies Occur?

One of the common misconceptions is that once you are allergic to one type of seafood, then you cannot eat any other kind within the family. This is not true. Allergies can be fussy and very specific when it comes to hormonal and immune system reactions. You can be allergic to just one or two types of seafood or shellfish.

For instance, the shellfish family has a variety of delicacies ranging from molluscs (clams, oysters and mussels) to squids, prawns and octopus. The anatomy of these animals differs, and so does the manner in which they can trigger your allergic reactions. Some people can safely eat shrimp but not mussels. If you notice that you have an allergic reaction to any of these foods, talk to your allergist immediately instead of jumping to conclusions and missing out on other delicacies.

What Could Be the Hidden Source of Allergy?

You've just talked to your allergist and they have assured you that certain fish and shellfish are safe for you. However, you still experience some mild symptoms of the allergy after having the "safe" meal. What could be cause? The answer lies in the hidden sources of allergy lurking in whatever food you have been served. Salads, sauces, soup and other meal components can be laced with some few ingredients of what you should avoid. When ordering a meal, inform the server about any fish or shellfish that you are allergic to. They will exclude it from that salad or other foods that you get.

Is Cross-contamination a Problem?

Cross contamination can also expose you to fish or shellfish that you are allergic to. Be careful when you are sharing a meal with a group of friends or family members. Take a case where you are allergic to tuna fish. If someone picks up a tuna sandwich and slices it using a knife, you can trigger an allergic reaction if you use the same knife to chop your food.