Allergic reactions as a result of contact with fish are a kind of food allergy that occur due to the presence of certain types of protein in the fish. A person who has a fish allergy should avoid foods and condiments like Worcestershire sauce, Caesar salad dressing, caviar, ceviche, gelatin, Thai fish sauce, fish stock, surimi, cioppino, omega-3 supplements, caponata and pissaladiere, as they may contain some of these proteins. The onset of fish allergy usually happens in the adult years and the condition improves as the years pass by.
People often have the misconception that fish contact allergies are the same as shellfish allergies, but in reality, both are different. This means that a person who has an allergy to shellfish may be able to safely eat fish, and vice versa. Fish like tilapia, salmon, tuna, snapper, pollock and cod are usually linked with this type of allergy.
Fish Allergy Symptoms
Oral allergy syndrome is the most common sign of fish allergy. This allergy causes the tongue to immediately tingle after eating fish. Another external sign is skin irritation. In other cases, the person may feel intestinal discomfort and swelling of the airway passage. If medical help is not given on time, the person can go into anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylactic shock is a reaction where large amount of histamine is released in the body, causing the airways to swell and tighten. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure, slurring of speech, dizziness and abdominal pain and cramping. Epinephrine should be administered and medical assistance should be sought immediately, as this condition can quickly become fatal.
Fish Allergy Treatment and Prevention
The basic prevention against fish contact allergies is to stop coming into contact with any kind of fish, including eel and shark. There are tests that can identify the particular fish variety causing the allergy. For instance, if the test reveals that tuna is the allergy-causing agent, the person maybe permitted to consume other kind of fish. But most of the time, a person with a fish allergy is expected to stop eating any kind of fish. Most importantly, once the allergy is diagnosed, the person needs to carry medications with them in case any emergency situations arise.
To avoid the emergency situations, eating in restaurants that serve fish should be avoided because of the fear of cross-contamination, because in restaurants offering fish and other non-vegetarian or vegetarian dishes, you cannot be sure about the medium or way of cooking. It could be that in a wok where the chef just prepared a fish dish, the same wok is used again to make a chicken dish. Such type of circumstances can lead to cross-contamination.
If you are unsure about the ingredients in the food, ask the restaurant for clear details. Overall, fish allergies are not life threatening if the person takes all the preventions. In other words, except for anaphylactic shock, there are no life threatening consequences.