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Living With a Fish Allergy

If you’re allergic to one kind of fish, your doctor may have told you to avoid others. Here’s what to look out for.

Surprising Sources of Fish

Foods that contain anchovies

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Barbecue sauces made with Worcestershire
  • Caesar salad and Caesar dressing
  • Caponata (Sicilian eggplant relish)

Other foods that have fish:

  • Caviar and fish roe (fish eggs)
  • Artificial fish like surimi, an imitation crabmeat, sometimes used in sushi
  • Fish sauce, oils, and gelatin

4 Tips for Avoiding Fish

  • Stay out of seafood restaurants. Even if you order the beef, bits of fish from a shared spatula, cooking oil, or grill can get in your food. That kind of cross-contact can happen in any eatery that uses a lot of fish or fish ingredients, including many ethnic restaurants.
  • Don't shop for or cook fish. Let someone else do it. You may get a reaction to touching fish or being in an area where it's being cooked.
  • Ask your doctor if any fish or shellfish is safe to eat. Don't try out a fish on your own, though. Fish can cause severe allergic reactions.
  • Read labels. Other foods -- as well as lotions, cosmetics, and medicine -- may have fish in them.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on October 24, 2012
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