What is a Fish Allergy?
Fish allergies, a subcategory of seafood allergies, stem from an allergic reaction to a protein (paryalbumin) that is found in a wide variety of finned fishes. The most common fish allergens derive from pollock, salmon, cod, tuna, snapper, eel and tilapia, though many other types of fish also have this protein.
Unlike most allergies, fish allergies usually start in adulthood and are never outgrown. Of course, fish allergens are more common in countries that have fish as a major staple in their diets. Fish allergies can be severe, and even fatal, if not treated immediately.
Symptoms of fish allergies include a tingling mouth and lips, gestational discomfort, rash, asthma attacks, and most severely, anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life threatening if not treated immediately with the use of epinephrine, and any other medication prescribed by a doctor, such as a rescue inhaler.
People who have fish allergies are advised to avoid consuming fish and anything that has come into contact with fish. The labeling of fish is regulated by the Food Labeling Consumer and Protection Act, which requires any packaged product is clearly labeled as containing fish. People with food allergies are recommended to learn the names of many associated fish so they won’t become confused when reading labels.
In addition, people with fish allergies should stray from partaking in restaurants that have high chances of cross-contamination, such as seafood restaurants. In some cases, fish merely being cooked on a grill is enough to trigger an allergic reaction.
There are many common products that contain fish including: Caesar dressing, Worcestershire sauce, ceviche, and gelatin. Additionally, many Mediterranean and Eastern foods contain fish in some form in their dishes. Fish allergens can be managed by exclusion of fish in the diet, and always having proper medication available.