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Allergic to crustaceans and shellfish

  1. Food allergies result from a fault in the body's defense system that incorrectly identifies certain foods as intruders. One of the most common food allergies is shellfish. Shellfish can be divided into two categories, namely crustaceans (shrimp, crab and lobster) and molluscs (oysters, squid, octopus, scallops and mussels). When a shellfish allergy is diagnosed, avoiding all types of shellfish is the best way to deal with it, although a shellfish allergy does not necessarily mean that you will also have an allergic reaction to mollusks.

Symptoms of an allergy

  1. The severity of the symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild to very severe. These symptoms can manifest within minutes of consuming shellfish but can sometimes be absent for hours. Here are some of the symptoms that indicate an allergic reaction:

What causes the allergic reaction?

  1. As with other food allergies, our body's immune system is disrupted and identifies shellfish proteins as harmful invaders. Antibodies are activated with the aim of neutralizing proteins and histamine that have entered the body and play a large role in the symptoms we experience in an allergic reaction.

Mollusk and oyster allergy

  1. In contrast to other types of shellfish allergies, an allergy to oysters is much less common. The symptoms are similar to other food allergies and usually occur in mild oral forms ranging from itching of the lips, throat and larynx to swelling of the lips, tongue, throat and palate. A common symptom with this allergy form is also urticaria or hives. In some cases anaphylactic shock may also occur after oyster consumption.


  1. There is already a law that states that all packaged foods containing shellfish must specifically state on the label which shellfish are actually used. It is possible that a certain product used to contain extracts from shellfish and not anymore. So always check the label before consuming the product.

Shellfish to avoid:

  1. Barnacle crab crayfish krill or shrimp lobster shrimps scampi


  1. Research has shown that heredity plays an important role in shellfish allergy. If your parents suffer from this allergy, chances are that you yourself are also allergic. To avoid ever having an allergic reaction to shellfish, it is advisable to have this tested by your doctor.

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