Having a shellfish allergy is different from a fish allergy. Those who suffer from shellfish allergies do not necessarily have to avoid fish and vice versa. It is important to avoid self-diagnosis and go to the emergency room to avoid severe flare-ups or anaphylactic shock.
Shellfish are generally marine and edible aquatic invertebrates with rigid exoskeletons. They come from 4 different families: Cephalopes, Crustaceans, Gastropods and Echinoderms.
Seafood and allergies
However, in gastronomy we can differentiate two types of shellfish: crustaceans and mollusks. The most common edible crustaceans are:
Of all food allergies, shellfish are responsible for 90% of cases. Crustaceans are more involved in severe allergic reactions than mollusks. It is by far the leading cause of allergy in adults.
It is seen more in adults than in children. In children, it is estimated that 0.1 to 0.9% of the child population has allergies to shellfish. Higher incidences have been reported with 4%.
· In Spain, it is responsible for 8% of allergies.
· In the USA more than 250,000 cases have been registered.
· Among the population of children and adolescents, the highest incidence is in males between 15 and 17 years of age.
· There are risk factors for sensitization:
Today it is known that exposure to shellfish is the most important environmental factor. Therefore, in places where shellfish are the usual diet, allergies are more frequent.
In the same way, the variety of shellfish involved depends on the most frequent local species in its gastronomy.
There are individual risk factors, which can increase the symptoms and severity of the allergic reaction: