7 MILLION People Allergic to Shellfish?


So, check this out…  It’s shellfish/seafood allergy information from the Food Allergy Daily:

Shellfish Allergy Information

An estimated 2.3% of Americans – that’s nearly 7 million people – are allergic to seafood, including fish and shellfish. Shrimp, crab, and lobster cause most shellfish allergies.

Allergy to shellfish is considered lifelong; once a person develops the allergy, it is unlikely that they will lose it.

Approximately 60% of those with shellfish allergy first experienced an allergic reaction as an adult. To avoid a reaction, strict avoidance of seafood and seafood products is essential. Always read ingredient labels to identify shellfish ingredients. In addition, avoid touching shellfish, going to the fish market, and being in an area where shellfish are being cooked (the protein in the steam may present a risk).

Keep In Mind!

  • If you have seafood allergy, avoid seafood restaurants. Even if you order a non-seafood item off of the menu, it is safer to always assume that cross-contact is possible.
  • Asian restaurants often serve dishes that use fish sauce as a flavoring base. Exercise caution or avoid eating there altogether.
  • Shellfish protein can become airborne in the steam released during cooking and may be a risk. Stay away from cooking areas.
  • Many people who are allergic to shellfish are allergic to more than one kind. Talk to your doctor so that you know for sure what foods to avoid.

Frequently asked questions

Should carrageenan be avoided by a shellfish-allergic individual?

Carrageenan is not fish. Carrageenan, or “Irish moss,” is a red marine algae. This food product is used in a wide variety of foods, particularly dairy foods, as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickener. It appears safe for most individuals with food allergies. Carrageenan is not related to shellfish and does not need to be avoided by those with food allergies.

Should iodine be avoided by a shellfish-allergic individual?

Allergy to iodine, allergy to radiocontrast material (used in some radiographic procedures), and allergy to fish or shellfish are not related. If you have an allergy to shellfish, you do not need to worry about cross reactions with radiocontrast material or iodine

Yeah, there’s a lot there, but I can’t get past “An estimated 2.3% of Americans – that’s nearly 7 million people – are allergic to seafood, including fish and shellfish”.

DEAD from LOBSTER

DEAD from LOBSTER (AllergyMonkey.com)

<rant> Where the hell are you people?  Not to sound like a whiner… but all the Food Allergy “press” seems to go to peanuts, dairy, & wheat… and “Gluten Free” menu/options crap seems almost like the new Atkins.  All of a sudden, Celiac is Chic.  We have peanut-free baseball games and airplane flights, where are my shellfish-free beaches and cruises, or where’s my “no contact with shellfish” menu, or separate no-shellfish fryer?  Why is Lent my own personal hell every year when a favorite restaurant adds shrimp or crab-legs or a lobster sub to their menu?  It’s even more of a pain when it becomes permanent.  (I’m taking to you; Texas Roadhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, & Quiznos.)

Celiac disease isn’t even an allergy in the traditional sense, but it’s gobbling up all the press.  It’s an autoimmune disorder, and from my understanding… makes you poop a lot if you eat wheat.  Terrible, yes.  But, I don’t get diarrhea when I eat shellfish.  I get anaphylaxis.  Diarrhea may come along with the choking & swelling though.

I wish Shellfish Free had another user or 2 out of the apparent SEVEN MILLION of us out here.

That being said, awareness needs to be raised for ALL food allergies, whether in the top 8 or not.  So, Celiac people… throw us a gluten-free bone here, will you?  When a restaurant offers a gluten-free menu, how about a “That’s cool… but you know, there are so many allergies out there like peanut, milk, egg, shellfish, corn, peppers, and all kinds of crazy stuff.  Maybe you ought to look at your cross-contamination practices in all areas & cooking surfaces with all ingredients.”  (See this:  http://www.foodallergy.org/page/restaurants-guests-with-food-allergies</rant>

"No shellfish for me!"

"No shellfish for me!"

At any rate, where are my shellfish-allergic peeps?  This is your time & place to bitch about finding a good death-free and anxiety-free meal.  Stand up and be counted!  This is a roll call & we need a list 7-million freaking people long.  Please, leave your comments below with your story, your frustrations, or even with a positive experience related to your shellfish allergy… as well as links to any support groups or allergy resources that you hold dear.

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8 responses to “7 MILLION People Allergic to Shellfish?

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  5. Hello! I am allergic to all Shellfish, I have been since I was a child. Being from Florida, my parents ate a lot of sea food and as a child they made me try it! They said I would tell them my tongue was itchy, and then it was off to the hospital! I was diagnosed as a very young age and then my parents helped me to stay away from these food groups. My reactions got progressively worse as I got older with each exposure. I learned the hard way that telling a waiter that I have a deathly shellfish allergy and will go into anaphylactic shock DOES NOT WORK! I have had several reactions with cross contamination which ended up in the ER. Now I get extreme anxiety if I have to eat out at a restaurant with a work group which serves shellfish. I usually don’t order anything and bring my own meal… this does not sit well with non-allergy sufferers! Everyone asks, “why aren’t you eating?”, and doesn’t understand the severity of the situation. My allergy is so bad that I now I even react to the smell of cooking shellfish. Needless to say, I try not to go into any restaurants that serve shellfish. My husband and I cook a lot and don’t eat out too much! It is SO hard to find “nice” sit down restaurants that do not serve shellfish. Not many people think about it, but next time you are at a restaurant check the menu, I BET they have shellfish. Traveling is extremely difficult to find restaurants I can eat at, so we usually pay extra for a condo which has a kitchen. Cook-outs and pot-lucks are just as hard for me… imagine having to ask everyone one who brings a dish it they cooked it on a grill which they have cooked shellfish in the past… It’s too much trouble so now I just don’t bother and bring my own food. I get looks from people that just don’t understand! If you are not a food allergy sufferer, count your lucky stars. It is a difficult life. On the upside, cooking at home all the time makes for healthy choices and I have a very healthy lifestyle :) Please get your children tested at an early age for food allergies!!

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