Fish Allergy Diet: Foods to Avoid
Most popular allergenic fish species
Fish allergy is a fairly widespread allergic reaction in recent years to both river and sea fish species. Only sometimes allergic manifestations are associated with a certain type of fish, whereas, in most cases, several species of fish provoke allergy. The most allergenic species are the whole subspecies of salmon, eel, catfish, and tuna. Sometimes there may be a cross-allergic reaction with seafood such as crustaceans and mollusks.
Smoking, drying and heat treatment practically do not affect the allergenic properties of fish products; therefore baked, smoked and dried fish pose the same danger for a person with fish protein intolerance. Often, the allergic reaction develops after the inhalation of vapors arising during the preparation of products from fish, which is quite an atypical phenomenon for most food allergens.
Fish Allergy Symptoms
Signs of the disease are different, their severity and nature depend on the peculiarities of the organism. As a rule, allergy to fish implies intolerance of all fish species, in rare cases, it is a question of intolerance of a specific product (for example, an allergy to cod). Symptoms of the disease are the following.
- Digestive disorders. The patient suffers from abdominal pain, increased gas production, nausea, and loose stools. If the condition worsens, vomiting occurs.
- Skin reactions. A few minutes after eating, there is a burning and tingling sensation in the oral cavity. The development of swelling of the mucosa is possible, which makes it difficult to swallow and leads to suffocation. Within a day, red peeling spots, causing severe itching, appear on the patient’s body. When combing the rashes, ulcers are formed.
- Visual organ disorders. When the odor of fish is inhaled, allergic conjunctivitis develops. It is characterized by eye redness and involuntary tearing. In severe cases, visual impairment occurs.
- Respiratory symptoms. The irritation of the throat is accompanied by a strong dry cough. If the fish allergy has led to swelling of the mucous membrane of the nose and throat, choking occurs, which threatens the life of the victim. Inhalation of fumes of raw fish or fish dishes causes a runny nose, frequent sneezing, itching in the nasal cavity.
Allergy signs occur 2-3 hours after eating a trigger product. In severe cases, the symptoms develop immediately. Weak allergic reactions are possible within 24 hours after eating. They are characterized by skin rash, which itself passes in a few days.
Fish Allergy Treatment
- Medical intervention is required if the allergy lasts for more than 3 days or its symptoms pose a danger to human life. You should consult an allergist.
- Medical care is also necessary in the case of the development of complications in the form of anaphylactic shock or Quincke’s edema. With an anaphylactic shock, the affected person suffers from a sweatiness, slow pulse, and loss of consciousness. If within an hour the patient is not provided with the first aid, then a clinical death occurs. Quincke’s edema is characterized by a strong inflammation of the skin, which triggers an expressed swelling. In the case of the swelling of the mucous throat, the upper respiratory tract is overlapped, which leads to a fatal outcome.
- The most effective way to combat allergic reactions is an elimination therapy, which implies compliance with a strict diet. Fish is contraindicated, it is recommended to replace it with meat and fresh vegetables. As well, it is necessary to exclude seafood.
- To eliminate signs of an allergic reaction, a patient is prescribed with medications such as enterosorbents, antihistamines, and vitamin complexes.
- Respiratory symptoms are treated with nasal drops and sprays.
- Immunomodulators are used to strengthen immunity and reduce its sensitivity to allergens.
- Acute fish allergy with severe skin reactions is eliminated by the use of corticosteroids.
Foods to Avoid with a Fish Allergy
The list of the most common taboos includes:
- Sea kale
- Mahi Mahi
- Red and black caviar.
Foods Containing Fish
- Gelatin (made from the bone and skin of fish)
- Caesar salad dressing
- Ceviche (cooked in an acidic citrus marinade)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Cioppino (fish stew)
- Bouillabaisse (fish stew)
- Nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
- Surimi (artificial fish or shellfish)
- Caponata (eggplant relish)
- Fumet (fish stock)
Avoiding High-Risk Situations with Fish Allergy in a Daily Life
It is very difficult to live with a fish allergy. Below, we provide some tips on how to avoid fish allergy high-risk situations:
- Sushi bars, seafood restaurants, and ethnic Thai restaurants are at high risks for cross-contamination because of the very close contact of fish and non-fish products. Frying oil is another source of possible cross-contamination.
- As well, people with fish allergy are recommended to avoid hibachi-style fish grill restaurants. There are many cases of inhalation reactions due to the fish proteins being released into the air upon steam cooking.
- Reading labels for fish is reasonably simple in grocery stores.
- Managing the risk of severe asthma and anaphylaxis. Both depend on communication with your allergist and keeping any prescribed medication close at hand. For example, an injectable epinephrine in the case of anaphylaxis and an inhaler in the case of asthma.
- Isinglass is a type of gelatin which is produced from the swim bladder of certain fish. It is commercially used to clarify wine or beer. People with the fish allergy should avoid beers and wine clarified with isinglass, which can cause anaphylaxis.
- Wash dishes thoroughly, it is recommended to boil it. Since protein-parvalbumin is very stable, the allergic reaction can be caused even due to the smallest dose.
Remember that if the human body at least once has experienced an allergic reaction to fish products, it is necessary to categorically exclude eating fish-containing dishes! Compliance with this simple law will save your health and protect you from the recurrence of unpleasant symptoms!