Can I eat seaweed if I have seafood allergy?

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An individual can eat seaweed if he/she has seafood allergy, but caution should be observed when eating it especially in restaurants. Take note that seaweed does not contain any fish proteins or any other seafood proteins. Nevertheless, if the individual has a seafood allergy, he/she must avoid eating at any seafood restaurants, even if a dish that does not contain fish was ordered. Remember that seaweed is commonly used in Asian cuisine including sushi.

Safety precautions

An individual can consume seaweed if he/she has seafood allergy since seaweed does not include any fish protein. The protein present in the meat of fish is responsible for triggering an allergic reaction.

When an individual consumes seafood, the immune system does not identify the proteins in fish as safe, thus reacts by attacking the proteins and starts an allergic reaction that affects the bodily systems. If the individual is allergic to one type of fish, he/she may or may not be allergic to other types of seafood. In most cases, the doctor will perform an allergy test to determine which seafood can be eaten safely.

Depending on the severity of the reactions experienced by the individual, a skin prick test or blood test will be carried out. A skin prick test involves the introduction of the potential allergen under the skin to check for a reaction. As for a blood test, it checks for the presence of IgE antibodies in the blood once exposed to the allergen.

The throat, airways and lungs will swell that can disrupt the ability of the individual to breathe that can result to death.

Considerations to bear in mind

Cross-contamination should be considered before the individual eats seaweed. Even though seaweed does not contain any fish proteins, it might be contaminated with fish proteins if prepared in a kitchen or facility that prepares seafood dishes. Cross-contamination spreads via shared utensils, countertops and cookware.

If the individual eats in a sushi restaurant and orders a vegetarian roll, the same countertop used in preparing the fish-based sushi is also used in preparing the vegetarian roll. The proteins present on the countertop can easily transfer onto the seaweed, thus triggering an allergic reaction among highly sensitive individuals.

What are the severe symptoms?

Once the individual experiences any of the usual allergy signs and symptoms after consuming seaweed, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. Seafood allergy is a usual trigger of anaphylactic shock. It is important to note that anaphylactic shock is considered as a severe reaction that can cause the whole body to experience a reaction. The throat, airways and lungs will swell that can disrupt the ability of the individual to breathe that can result to death.

What are the other symptoms?

The less severe symptoms of a seafood allergy include skin rashes, asthma, nasal congestion, digestive issues and facial swelling. Any of these symptoms require evaluation by a doctor right away. It is best to consult a doctor to properly assess the symptoms once they start to occur.

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