Shrimp allergy is considered as one of the widespread food allergies that can develop at any age unexpectedly and without any warning. The individual can respond to a particular allergen in minutes or hours afterwards consuming shrimp or foods that contain ingredients using shrimp. Even though an individual is allergic to shrimp, it does not mean that the individual is also allergic to other shellfish such as crab, lobster, squid or octopus but it is best to be careful though. Most cases of allergic reactions to shrimp are minor but if a severe reaction develops, it is best to seek emergency care as soon as possible.
Signs and symptoms of shrimp allergy
The following signs and symptoms can manifest if an individual is allergic to shrimp. You have to watch out for these symptoms in order to provide the appropriate first aid measures.
Swelling, hives and eczema
When it comes to shrimp allergy, the most common reaction is skin inflammation. If the individual has a true food allergy, the skin reaction usually starts right after eating and not longer than 2 hours after ingestion. The inflammation of the skin could develop as hives which is a cluster of pale red bumps on the skin that can manifest anywhere but usually appear on the stomach, arms, thighs and the face.
An acute case of hives can last for less than a day or even up to six weeks. On the affected areas, an abrupt outbreak of eczema or an itchy rash can also quickly develop. In some cases, the skin can swell usually the hands or lips as well as the throat and tongue. Take note that minor cases of hives can be treated at home with antihistamines but it is best to seek medical treatment if it does not respond and lasts for more than a couple of days.
Abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea
An individual can also experience minor to harsh digestive symptoms during a shrimp allergy. Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting can manifest in a span of minutes or hours after eating shrimp. A minor digestive reaction can occur if a food eaten was fried in the same oil used for the shrimp. In some cases, an individual can react due to exposure to the steam from a shrimp being steamed. If the individual had a previous severe allergic reaction to shrimp in the past, it is advisable not to eat in restaurants that serve shrimp. You cannot be sure since the utensils or pots used might have trace elements that can easily trigger an allergic reaction.
During a severe allergic reaction which is called as anaphylaxis, it involves severe swelling of the tongue or throat that makes breathing difficult, dizziness, lightheadedness, tingling sensation in the mouth and loss of consciousness. The individual must be taken directly to the hospital so that epinephrine can be administered immediately. Take note that if even severe swelling of the throat and tongue or a rapid pulse occur, the individual must still be taken to the hospital since severe reactions require immediate medical attention. In rare cases, anaphylaxis can even lead to heart failure. Individuals who are prone to severe allergic reactions usually bring an EpiPen wherever they go. If the individual has one, you have to use it right away to counteract the symptoms while waiting for the medical team to arrive or while on the way to the hospital.