French people call lobsters “The Cardinals of the table”, because of their bright red color and exquisite, refined taste. These crustaceans are associated with luxury, wealth and abundance. They are included in Italian pasta with seafood, Spanish paella and Asian dishes with garlic and ginger.
Vitamin and mineral composition of a lobster is amazed as well because it contains a wide range of healthy elements: iron, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, and magnesium; vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, A, D, E and various saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, the lobsters are supposed to be one of the most useful protein products. Besides, they contain even less of cholesterol, fat and calories than chicken and beef.
From the medical point of view, these crustaceans also have many beneficial properties: diminish the risk of lung cancer, lower blood pressure, improve the work of the sweat glands and strengthen blood vessels.
However, in spite of all these advantages, the lobsters can serve as very strong allergens. The impact of an allergen is manifested by eating boiled, stewed or marinated lobster meat.
There is a plenty of allergenic substances in the composition of this seafood product, but the most active of them are tropomyosin protein and parvalbumin protein and its derivatives.
People with an allergy to lobsters possess often a cross-hypersensitivity to daphnia allergens, which are used as feed for aquarium fish.
Lobster Allergy Symptoms
Allergy manifestations develop not early than 2 hours after the consumption, but usually a few days after the contact with the allergen. In this case, it is rather knotty to discriminate the provoker of the allergy. The features of an allergic reaction can be very varied, provoking the development of hundreds of different signs or diseases.
The manifestation usually takes the form of urticaria and is manifested by itching, rash in the abdomen, neck, chest, back and thighs, seldom – on the mucous membranes. Often allergic responses to crustaceans are accompanied by the expansion of the blood vessels of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, increasing their permeability, which leads to swelling of the skin. This symptom is usually clearly visible on the face: the person suffers from swelling in the mouth and eyes.
Other possible allergic reactions to lobsters embrace discomfort in the stomach, headaches, fatigue, sleep disorders, vasculitis, arthritis, glomerulonephritis, myocarditis, asthma and eczema, and even the occurrence of systemic reactions such as anaphylactic shock. Respiratory symptoms: sneezing, a runny nose, nasal congestion appears much less frequently.
Diagnostics and Treatment of Lobster Allergy
This type of allergy is not detected by conventional methods of allergy testing (skin tests). Only the method of immunoassay may determine the existence of the illness: it detects the presence of specific IgG antibodies to lobster allergens.
This analysis is one of the most far-famed ways of laboratory diagnostics. It is based on the immunological reaction, in which at the stage of identification of the desired substance (specific antibodies), the phosphors are added.
These elements are able to glow in ultraviolet. Thus, the level of luminescence is distinguished, which is proportional to a number of antibodies detected and measured by special devices – luminometer.
If the diagnosis is verified, the patient should stop consuming seafood. It is also desirable to exclude sea fish, especially red one from the ration. Moreover, if the allergy to lobster exists, it may provoke the “cross-reaction” to other products like crabs, crawfish.
Thus, it is advised to eliminate the use of products, which contain fish proteins: fish oils, surimi, caviar, anchovy, sushi, sashimi, tempura, shrimp, Asian dishes, fish sauce, soup and cakes, fish flavors.
In the case of the appearance of the sickness, the allergist assigns:
- Antihistamines: Fexofenadine (Telfast), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Loratadine (Claritin), Clemastine, Chloropyramine (Suprastin). These medications can be prescribed only by a specialist to relieve allergy symptoms because antihistamines may provoke side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, difficulty urinating and a feeling of anxiety.
- Hormone drugs and symptomatic treatment (Prednisolone or Dexamethasone) are used in severe cases, such as anaphylactic shock and angioedema. They serve to eliminate as soon as possible the signs of a perilous allergic reaction and to interrupt the emergence of intolerance. These drugs also possess a lot of by-effects that is why they can be taken only under the doctor’s control.
In the healing of allergy to lobsters, the immunotherapy is used. The drug is administered by injection in the organism, which reduces the sensitivity to certain substances. Unfortunately, this method can not get rid of the disease forever, but it helps people to endure the symptoms easier.
In addition, it should be stressed, that very sensitive individual may get allergic manifestations even from the smell of lobster. So, he/she should stay away from the fish store shelves and from the kitchen, where seafood is cooked. What is more, the allergenic proteins of seafood are resistant to high temperature, so that during the heat treatment, including severe and prolonged processing, the allergenicity of these products does not decline.