Crustacean allergy

Crustacean allergy and the Symptoms.

Crustacean allergies are becoming increasingly common.

Amongst the common food allergies, crustacean allergy is one such condition that is seen in many people across the globe. Based on a survey conducted in United States assessing 5529 households, it emerged that 2.3% of the population i.e. 6.6 million Americans may suffer from physician-diagnosed or self diagnosed seafood allergy.

Crustacean.PlatterWithin this group, there exists a large number of people who suffer from crustacean allergy.
In this article, we shall take a brief look at crustacean allergies, concentrating on the clinical symptoms and how it can be managed. For further information can be found at Seafood Allergy Category of

What is a crustacean?

Crustaceans form a part of the shellfish group and includes prawns, crabs, lobsters and shrimps. They can be an important part of one’s diet as they tend to be high in protein and low in fats.

Allergy to crustaceans

Allergy to crustaceans occurs at a higher incidence amongst population groups who consume a large amount of crustaceans.

The allergy tends to affect adults and older children.
As is the case with most shellfish allergies, the patients who demonstrate an allergic response do so due to the presence of a particular protein called tropomyosin. There are a number of different published papers that have confirmed this as the allergen.

In addition, they also describe tropomyosin to be a cross-reactive allergen between crustaceans and molluscs. This means that patients who are allergic to molluscs may also be allergic to crustaceans.

Crustacean.2jpgThe Crustacean Allergy Symptoms

Patients who are allergic to crustaceans start to demonstrate clinical signs and symptoms within a matter of hours following consumption or exposure.

Early responses can occur within two hours of consumption of food while late responses can be seen up to 8 hours later. The allergic response can be mild and can include a rash within the oral cavity or the skin, a runny nose and itching in the eyes.

More serious reactions can occur such as severe vomiting, respiratory distress and cardiac arrest. The latter is of course extremely rare and many a times patients tend to receive timely treatment which can prevent fatal consequences.

Treatment of crustacean allergy

The best treatment is prevention, but this can only be observed after the patient has developed an allergic reaction. In the event of a mild allergic reaction, simple antihistamine medications should be sufficient. However, more serious allergic responses require admission to hospital and administration of life-saving treatment.
Once a diagnosis of crustacean allergy has been made, patients need to ensure that they avoid crustaceans completely, and many a times other seafood groups such as shellfish and molluscs. There may be patients who are allergic only to crustaceans and no other fish but this can be difficult to determine sometimes. It is therefore advised that patients who have been diagnosed with crustacean allergies completely avoid other shellfish.
Crustacean allergy is a common clinical condition that requires aggressive treatment in some cases. Preventing oneself from consuming crustaceans is the best way to prevent allergic reactions.

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