What Are the Treatments for an Allergic Reaction to Fish?

K.C. Bruning

Usually an allergic reaction to fish will cause anaphylaxis. This is typically treated with an epinephrine injection, which is quickly and firmly stabbed into the leg at the first signs of a reaction. The adrenaline from the injection keeps the individual alive while emergency medical care is sought. A doctor may also prescribe other medication to be taken after exposure to fish.

Salmon can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Salmon can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

One of the most effective treatments for an allergic reaction to fish is to avoid it. In the case of accidental consumption of fish, however, immediately stopping eating the food can help keep symptoms from worsening. If the allergy is not serious, taking an antihistamine may help the symptoms to subside.

A fish entree.
A fish entree.

People who have an allergic reaction to fish are also often at risk for severe asthma. For this reason, treatment may also include managing symptoms of that condition as well. This can include taking both short and long-acting medication. When there is an allergic reaction, fast-acting drugs such as inhaled steroids may be prescribed for accompanying asthma symptoms.

Epinephrine injections are often to those who experience severe reactions to fish and shellfish.
Epinephrine injections are often to those who experience severe reactions to fish and shellfish.

An allergic reaction to fish can come from internal or external contact. It causes a flood of histamines throughout the body which causes parts such as the throat, eyes, and lungs to swell up. The correct treatment depends upon how much of the chemical is released into the body.

Unlike many allergies, an allergic reaction to fish often develops in adulthood. It also is not likely to go away as often happens with many childhood allergies. Though the symptoms of a reaction tend to be more severe than with other kinds of allergies, because so many sufferers are adults, it can also be easier to avoid.

In order to detect an allergy to fish, a doctor will ask a patient several questions. Having the patient’s full medical history, including information about any parent allergies, can be an effective part of determining the problem. The doctor may also ask about the incident or incidents that gave the patient symptoms. This can include the amount of fish eaten, what kind of fish it was, and whether anyone else had the same dish and reacted poorly.

The most common fish to cause allergies are tilapia, eel, and snapper. Pollock, cod, and salmon can also be equally problematic. Some of the most severe fish allergies are to shellfish such as shrimp, crab, lobster, and crayfish.

People who have an allergic reaction to fish are also often at risk for severe asthma.
People who have an allergic reaction to fish are also often at risk for severe asthma.

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