Aa
A
A
A
Close
Dermatology Community
53.6k Members
Avatar universal

skin peeling off fingers

After going fishing, once again the skin on my fingers are peeling.  It never happens to anyone Im with. And it always happens after using shrimp as bait.  It starts by being really sore the next day and then the pain disappears after a day or so.  Then about a week later the skin on my fingers starts to peel off. Weird!  I never really thought much about it but it has happened since I can remember. Im thinking maybe an allergy to shrimp? I always wash my hands afterwards so I dont know.Just wondering if anyone has any idea what this is?
15 Responses
174515 tn?1191710869
it sounds like a contact allergy to me. you can't wash it away. wear gloves the next time before handling the shrimp
Avatar universal
thank you very much, i was a little worried. Should I be concerned about eating shrimp? Not that I ever do, Im not a big fan of sea food.
174515 tn?1191710869
i would probably not eat them. you can go into a dermatologist for an allergy test and ask to check you for shellfish/iodine allergies
Avatar universal
This may or may not be some sort of Allergy.  I don't think it is.  The same thing happens to me and Everyone I know...and we do not use shrimp.  This happens whenever I touch fish from the gulf of Mexico.  I grew up on the west coast and NEVER had this problem with fish in the Pacific Ocean.  Since moving to Florida it's EVERY time I touch fish.  My whole hand peels.  One to two weeks after contact.  It is very frustrating!!!
Avatar universal
I fish strictly fresh water in the midwest.  I have had this condition for years.  About a week after fishing my hands crack, peel, get raw and it is just plain painful.  I have been to many dermatologists over the course of the last 25 years or so and nobody can figure out how to stop it or at least ease the pain.  I guess the only cure would be abstinence, but being and avid fisherman and raising my two boys to love fishing, that is out of the question.  I live in the greater Chicago area and was invited by one of my dermatologist to visit Northwestern Univ. med school to discuss my condition.  After feeling like a freak in a circus side show and being asked the same questions over and over by a plethora of doctors and med. students and no resolution, I got up and left.  There doesn't seem to be any explanation or cure, but if anybody has any insight or ideas into this condition, please share them, it might benefit all of us who suffer from this condition.  I was just fishing 10 days ago and am in the height of peeling cracking and pain!!
1 Comments
Hi there . Was looking through these threads bc I've been having these issues for years and its driving me crazy. I work a physical job with my hands and the pain is insane . Shortly after fishing hands swell and get red . Followed my skin pealing and then raw cracked hands that hurt to touch everything.  In these last few years have u found anything that works ? Thanks
Avatar universal
I always have this condition one week after leaving the Ocean beach after fishing I'm glade I'm not the only one
Avatar universal
I have been a fishing in fresh water in the Great Lakes Region for over 10 years and within the last 2 years, I have had this same reaction on my hands.  It is painful and embarrassing.  At first I thought it was contact to the bait/bait water but it is worse on my hand that holds the pole.  I use that same hand to take the fish off my line so I think it has to be a reaction to the fresh water fish.  I eat this same fish and all sorts of seafood without any adverse reaction so please enjoy your shrimp..  they are too good!
Avatar universal
I just did a search for this and found your question - I live in Massachusetts and never have it happen there. But when I go to Florida (West Coast), my fingers start peeling a week or so after I start fishing - doesn't hurt - but annoying - don't know if its the shrimp, water or fish causing it. I don't have a problem eating shrimp???
Avatar universal
I have also had this happen for as long as I can remember.  It also happens to my  brother.  We fish off the Texas coast, mainly Matagorda bay.  About a week or so after fishing, using shrimp, lures, squid or mullet, my fingers bubble, then peel.  It takes weeks to heal.  I have tried using towels to remove the fish and gloves, and still my hands peel.  I have always wondered why this happens.
Avatar universal
I developed a similar problem fishing in the FLorida Gulf coast region, near Fort Myers.  My fingers would begin to get very sensitive, not necessarily burning, but more of a sensitivity where I would become uncomfortable from my sense of touch.  This would often occur within 2-5 days of exposure.  The areas would become red and then peeling of skin typically near my finger nails and spread down my fingers.  Within a week or so my hands would be shedding skin and the terrible sensation and discomfort from touch might persist for up to 2-3 weeks.  FInally it subsides.  I suffered from this after each trip to Florida after fishing.  It appears to be only from exposure to live shrimp and my bubblers.  I am not convinced the condition has anything to do with a shrimp allergy.  I have never had a problem eating shrimp and do not have trouble handling or cleaning frozen shrimp for food.  I do think it could be a reaction to the excrement from the shrimp in the water, possibly the ammonia content.  It reoccurred for years until I became so uncomfortable I began traveling with boxes of surgical gloves as a complete barrier to the water and a top glove to keep sharp shrimp body parts from piercing the glove.  The top glove I used was a waterproof glove as well called "seal skins".  This stopped the problem.  I also began fisihing with live fish that I caught bait netting.  I do not seem to have a problem with them, but since they are never relaible I always fish with shrimp and basically always used the double layer glove methid described.  The problem is that fishing this way is a drag in 80 degree weather.  Your hands sweat terribly and of cource you look rediculous.  But the discomfort is so extreme I put up with it and seem to not have the problem.  Whateveer the condidtion is, it is likely due to a genetic predisposition.  My youngest son, who I think has the strongest genetic character like my own suffers from the same problem.  I have not fished in about 10 years and I wonder if the problem would be the same after being away from it for so long.  The problem is my memory is still strong enough I couldn't stand finding out that the condition did not go away so will probably still use the double glove method.
Avatar universal
I'm going to have to go to this method - gloves.
I go to Ft myers as well and it happens every time - going back in a few weeks - going to try to buy some seal skin gloves before I go - hate the though of wearing them in warm weather!
Avatar universal
just had this happen to me for the first time today. i tried applying peroxide to the peeling fingers at first and the peroxide stayed active for over 5 mins and that's when i just went with the bleach.

i just filled the sink with hot water and added ajax soap and a cap full of bleach. (maybe more like 2 caps.) the dry peeling skin just rubbed off after a good 5 mins of soaking.

my friend says it started happening to him a year ago. now he can't touch a fish without peeling. so he sticks to wearing gloves. still no problems yet after eating them for him. bleach works for him as well.

Avatar universal
I just started having this problem about maybe 8 years ago after fishing at the Texas Gulf Coast for like 35 years. Where does one find the right kind of gloves to keep this from happening? It feels like a sunburn to me. :(
Avatar universal
Same thing happens to me ,but with aama Crab!!!
1 Comments
I started getting the peeling fingers last summer. It always happens during crab season. I go crabbing and sometimes we cook them after cleaned and sometimes we cook them whole. Which means Im pulling the shells off and shaking out the insides before cracking them open and eating. Ive noticed about a day later, my fingertips start to feel tight a day little itchy and then about another day later, they look sort of shriveled and cracked. They get a little sore at this point but nothing "painful";. Then they start peeling for several days. I think it seems worse with whole crabs vs already cleaned crabs. Other than that symptom, I seem to be fine with eating any kind of seafood/shellfish and no reactions other than to crabs.
Avatar universal
Yes, contact dermatitis. I and my entire family thought I had come into contact with some chemicals for years. We always visited the gulf for vacations and peeled, fished with and ate shrimp. Now, my family owns a place on the beach. I was ready to buy a $1000 water treatment device for the house, until i started running some tests on myself. I never have any issues with eating shrimp but if i clean them or fish with the dead shrimp (frozen or fresh) my hands peel a week later and burn for the entire period. If I fish with live shrimp or eat them, I have no problem. This is the only thing i can do for fishing or eating. I am not going to use the dead shrimp to fish with or participate in peeling them if i can help it. Vaseline or intensive lotion with gloves at night, while sleeping, seems to sooth them.
Have an Answer?
Top Dermatology Answerers
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn to identify and prevent bites from summer’s most common pests.
Doctors argue for legislation to curb this dangerous teen trend in the latest Missouri Medicine report.
10 ways to keep your skin healthy all winter long
How to get rid of lumpy fat on your arms, hips, thighs and bottom
Diet “do’s” and “don’ts” for healthy, radiant skin.
Images of rashes caused by common skin conditions