Fish Allergy


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fish allergyFish allergies are actually caused by a protein contained in the flesh of fish and even fish oils and gelatin may trigger allergies if they have been contaminated by the proteins from the fish meat. The most common fish allergy reaction to a fish allergy are similar to other food allergies  effecting the skin, digestive system, and respiratory system. Specifically, there could be presence of urticaria (hives), eczema, and angioedema (swelling), itching, upset stomach, loose stools, vomiting, cramps, gas, vomiting, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, wheezing, asthma, heart burn, lightheadedness, or fainting.

Many people who cannot eat fish can consume shellfish without an allergic reaction and vice-versa.  The most common symptom of a fish allergy is considered to be ‘oral allergy syndrome’, which the mouth and lips may tingle or swell after eating fish or fish containing products. Fortunately, fish is usually not a ‘hidden ingredient’ in food.

Many people are concerned about an allergy to fish or shellfish and iodine. However, fish or shellfish allergy sufferers do not need to worry about cross reactions with iodine.

Preventing Fish Allergies

  • When dining out or eating foods prepared by others, extra precautions should taken.  If needed, check if the chef uses the same skillet to cook both meat and fish.
  • Watch out for condiments, sauces, or dressing that may contain fish proteins which may include worcestershire sauce, bouillabaisse, fumet (fish stock), caviar, roe (fish eggs), or imitation seafood often used in sushi.
  • Most omega-3 supplements can cause a allergic reaction and should be avoided.
  • Avoid all foods containing fish gelatin or anchovies and surimi (imitation crabmeat) which contains white fish.
  • Fish protein may become airborne during cooking and can create an allergic reaction.
  • It is possible to have a allergy reaction by walking through a fish market.

Allergy Causing Fish

Fish allergies are typically caused by specific kinds of bony and scaly fish listed below:

  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Bass
  • Orange roughy
  • Swordfish
  • Halibut
  • Tuna
  • Haddock
  • Mackerel
  • and others

Related Post: Shellfish Allergies.

About the author: Regina M. Smith is a food critic in St. Louis Missouri and writes a food related column in local restaurant publications.

Healthy Food Choices for Fish Allergies

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  • [...] Although many shellfish species may be rich in iodine, there is no scientific evidence that shellfish allergies raise the risk of developing or having an iodine allergy. Furthermore, it has never been proven that people with shellfish allergies need to take precautions to avoid iodine when undergoing medical tests.  Iodine is not related to the protein that causes shellfish allergies. However, some persons feel that they may have an iodine relative; because they are allergic to shellfish or are known to have an fish allergy. [...]

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