Allergies: Living with a Shellfish Allergy

Last Editorial Review: 4/2/2007
The Cleveland Clinic

If you suffer from a shellfish allergy, strictly avoiding shellfish and food containing shellfish is the only way to prevent a reaction. If your doctor is able to identify exactly which type of shellfish causes your allergies, then you only need to eliminate that type of shellfish from your diet. For the majority of shellfish allergy sufferers, however, this is not an option and all shellfish must be avoided.

Examples of shellfish include:

  • Abalone
  • Clams
  • Crab
  • Crawfish, crayfish
  • Lobster
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Cockle, sea urchin
  • Mussels

Be careful with fried foods. Some restaurants use the same oil to fry shrimp, chicken, and French fries. Also, keep in mind that imitation shellfish may still contain shellfish as many manufactures add shellfish for flavoring. Before you use it, read the label to be sure.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine.

SOURCE: The Food Allergy Initiative

Reviewed by Walter M. Ryan, DO, on February 1, 2007.

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