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Allergies Health Center

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Living With a Shellfish Allergy

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If you are allergic to one type of shellfish, you may be allergic to others. Use this list to help make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction.

5 Tips to Avoid Hidden Shellfish

  • Stay out of seafood restaurants. Even if you order something else, the restaurant may use the same skillet or oil to cook shellfish as other foods.
  • Beware of cross contamination. Tell your restaurant server about your shellfish allergy. Ask your server to make sure different utensils and work surfaces are used to make your food.
  • Know food ingredients containing shellfish. Fish stock and flavorings like fish sauce (common in Asian dishes) may include fish protein. Some manufacturers add shellfish to imitation shellfish, like mock crabmeat, for flavoring.
  • Stay away from shellfish while it is cooking. Some people are sensitive to shellfish protein released into the air when shellfish is being cooked. If you are, avoid steam tables or stove tops when shellfish is cooking.
  • Read labels. Shellfish can also be in medicines, cosmetics, creams, and other foods.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on October 31, 2014
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