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Very infrequent seafood allergy

I have eaten seafood all my life (33yrs), 99% of the time without incident.

I had medium severity asthma and atopic eczema as a child, both of which lessened considerably as I got older, becoming non-problematic since I was about 15. I still get the odd flare-up of eczema, usually in Spring, and my asthma management has for a long time consisted of using my ventolin inhaler about 3-5 times a year.

12 years ago I had a large seafood platter (fish, molluscs, crustaceans) at a restaurant, and a few hours later, I awoke with an in-progress asthma attack, very puffy swollen face, and extreme nasal congestion. I had an uncomfortable night, but by early morning, the symptoms had mostly disappeared.

And then last night, after enjoying a home-cooked seafood pasta, I again awoke a few hours later with the same symptoms as described above -- this time with some chest pain, swelling in the hands, and a lot of itchiness in the hand creases. Again, after being awake all night, the symptoms had mostly disappeared by morning.

The only other seafood-allergy related incident I can recall is a cooked japanese lunch meal I had about 6 years ago (the only seafood was squid I believe), where I experienced double-vision for a couple of hours after eating.

Other than this, I would say I have eaten seafood (all types) at least twice a month for my entire life, and these are the only incidents I have experienced.

Given what I have read on the internet, seafood allergies do not behave this way. You either have an allergy to a particular type of seafood, and eating that type of seafood triggers the allergy in virtually 100% of cases. I clearly do not have this type of allergy.

Can anyone shed any light on this?
3 Responses
Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
How are you?Seafood allergies are the most common causes of food allergy. A patient reacting to seafood can sometimes be difficult if the reaction was caused by a non-allergic reaction like food poisoning or a bacterial or viral infection. The most commonly reported symptoms seen with this kind of allergy include: eczema, hives, asthma, anaphylactic shock and digestive symptoms.

With your infrequent seafood allergy, this could be attributed to the principle of allergy desensitization. This involves the administration of small quantities of a substance a patient has an allergic response to which leads to diminishing the body's allergic response.  Yes, a history of allergic reactions shortly after exposure to fish or shellfish might suggest an allergy. However, this should be confirmed with a skin ***** test or RAST. It would be best to talk to your doctor about a complete diagnosis.
Take care and keep us posted.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your reply.

I am well, but still confused.

I am aware I could see a doctor for a skin ***** test... but regardless of the results of a skin ***** test, I know that I do not have a seafood allergy in terms of **eating** seafood. I eat enough of it regularly, and having just two reactions 12 years apart just doesn't add up to me.

Before I had any tests, I would want to know what POSSIBLE SEAFOOD ALLERGEN could cause me to have just two reactions, 12 years apart, in 33 years of eating all types of seafood.

Does anyone know

Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi,
I do understand the confusion this entails. The inconsistencies of your possible allergic reactions to seafoods does not help us even with the allergic symptoms present. Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the body's immune system. I am not aware of seafood allergen that causes reactions over a long period of time of inactivity. This could be food intolerance rather than food allergy. Food intolerance also presents with the symptoms of allergies but does not involve the immune system. It is a reaction to the chemicals or additives found in the food you are eating, and intolerance reactions to food chemicals are usually dose-related. You can read more about this through this link:
http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/factsheets/Factallergy.htm

Good luck.
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