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When you have a shellfish allergy and you eat shellfish, your body reacts as if the shellfish are trying to cause harm. It fights back by setting off an allergic reaction. A mild reaction may include a few raised, red, itchy patches of skin (called hives). A severe reaction may cause hives all over, swelling in the throat, trouble breathing, nausea or vomiting, or fainting. This is called anaphylaxis (say "ANN-uh-fuh-LAK-suss"). It can be deadly.
A good way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the foods that cause it. Shellfish might be used as ingredients in surimi (imitation shellfish, which is often found in sushi) and fish sauce. An allergy doctor or a dietitian may be able to help you understand which foods might be okay and what to avoid. Learn what to do if you have a reaction.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Give an epinephrine shot if:
After you give an epinephrine shot, call 911, even if you feel better.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: April 14, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Rohit K Katial MD - Allergy and Immunology & Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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