People try a variety of exotic fruits and seafood in an attempt to find new taste sensations. Thus, the popularity of lobster, crawfish and shellfish reaches a maximum due to the exquisite taste of these delicacies and new ways of cooking. Shrimps take one of the leading positions among seafood gifts. They are rich in various vitamins (B complex, C, D, A, PP), minerals (iodine, calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, phosphorus, copper etc.) and are a good source of protein for those who refuse to eat meat. Furthermore, the shrimps are low-calorie and contain large amounts of cholesterol.
But seafood belongs to a number of the most serious and perilous allergens that provoke nonstandard body’s response to contact with them. These specific symptoms of allergy to shrimp can be developed in many people, which should be timely noticed in order to avoid unpleasant consequences.
The Reasons of Shrimp Allergy
An allergy to shrimp is a classic form of IgE-mediated food intolerance. IgE antibody class is produced in the organism after exposure to an irritant.
The causes of allergy may be varied because shrimp contains fifteen allergenic substances. This product represents a great portion of the protein that constitutes a large part of the meat of shrimp – almost nineteen percent. The most hazardous elements are protein tropomyosin and the enzyme arginine kinase that cause the rejection of the organism after ingestion of the product. They have extremely high stability of even careful thermal treatment, so cooking or other ordinary methods of preparation of this seafood product does not preclude the likelihood of the onset of symptoms, namely severe disorders of the digestive system and the respiratory tract problems.
Also, organic compounds haptens may induce the allergic rejection of shrimp and provoke symptoms that are very dangerous for allergy suffers.
What is more, shrimp can absorb and store toxic substances and heavy metals of the environment, which can also stimulate negative reactions while consuming meals.
Improper transportation and freezing promote the processes of decay and accumulation of harmful substances in the bodies of seafood that can incite poisoning and the beginning of an allergic reaction. Besides, antibiotics, various colorants and food supplements for improving the taste of products can cause undesirable responses of the human body.
If there is a hypersensitivity to shrimps, the patient should exclude oysters, lobster, clams from ration, as their compositions are identical and comprise similar proteins.
Shrimp Allergy Symptoms
The clinical symptoms of allergy to shrimp depend entirely on the amount of use of products and the individual reactions to allergic antibodies.
The first manifestations can be fixed on the skin, namely:
- flushing of the skin;
- thick rash and redness;
- intolerable itching;
Disorders of the nervous system:
- bouts of irritability;
- apathy or hyperexcitability;
- sudden headaches;
- sleep disturbance.
The problems of digestive system:
- constipation or, conversely, diarrhea;
- tingling of oral mucosa;
- swelling of the tongue, lips;
- nausea accompanied by vomiting.
People with a weak digestive system are subjected to double jeopardy. It is not so easy to restore the gastrointestinal tract that may lead to dehydration of the body.
The general picture can be supplemented by the following symptoms:
- allergic rhinitis, laryngitis, bronchitis
- repeated vomiting, which does not bring any relief;
- swelling of the throat that leads to respiratory problems;
In some cases, there is a high risk of anaphylactic shock, which is the most frightening consequence of an allergy. It is characterized by the appearance of suffocation and sudden decrease in blood pressure, the skin becomes pale and chest tightness appears. In the absence of timely medical treatment, the death can occur.
The Treatment of Shrimp Allergy
Various tests and examinations are conducted by a specialist in order to properly diagnose the illness. The major methods of diagnostics are an allergic test and immunogram. Also, a survey of the internal organs and the reasons of chronic infectious are carried out. Immunofluorescence way of testing gives almost 100% result.
If the allergy is confirmed, the curing begins with the eliminating of shellfish from the dietary even in small quantity. The doctor assigns an individual hypoallergenic diet for the best effect in the treatment, which forbids the consumption of such products: seafood (oysters, scallops, mussels, lobsters, crabs, sushi, rolls etc.), fish dishes, chips and crackers with the taste of seafood, avocados.
If a simple rejection of the seafood does not help to alleviate the condition or the first symptoms have already emerged, additionally, the allergist may appoint supporting medications:
- Antihistamine drugs (Claritin, Zodak, Diazolin): quickly facilitate the allergic signs.
- Enterosorbents (Activated carbon, Polysorb): liquidate the toxic substances from the body.
- Glucocorticoid ointments and creams (Hydrocortisone, Prednisolone): eliminate itching and rash on the skin.
- Antiallergic drops neutralize allergic conjunctivitis and rhinitis.
It is not recommended to provide treatment of such diseases as allergy independently because the incorrect dosage of drugs can cause perilous complications, so in order to prevent unwanted effects, it is best to consult a doctor.
As with any other food allergy, the patient should remember that allergic attack may occur not only because of the use of the allergen inside, but it can be caused by a smell of seafood, for instance, the substances that are released in conjunction with water vapor, enter into the lungs and induce allergy.
It is advised not to invite the restaurants serving Mediterranean cuisine, and be careful while eating Japanese and Asian dishes. Moreover, it is vital to always carry antihistamine in the case of contact with the allergen to avoid serious consequences.
The prevention of allergic manifestations to shrimp also includes regular medical checkups and tests. Perhaps the next analysis will show that IgE to shrimp does not exceed the norm and the person can enjoy this palatable dish again.
To sum it up, food allergy makes people largely limit themselves. However, it is better to visit a specialist as soon as possible, find an alternative to the prohibited products and start to enjoy life again!