What Are the Treatments for an Allergic Reaction to Seafood?

C.B. Fox

Treatment for an allergic reaction to seafood is similar to the treatment for any other type of allergic reaction. People who know they have this allergy need to exercise good preventive care by being cautious about the food they eat. If seafood is ingested by someone with an allergy, the person should monitor his or her condition carefully, treating it at home, if it is a mild reaction, and going to a hospital for treatment if it is more severe. Though there are treatments available, people who know they are allergic to seafood should pay attention to food labels and talk to waiters in restaurants to make sure that no seafood products are used in the food they are served.

Scallops can trigger a serious allergic reaction.
Scallops can trigger a serious allergic reaction.

Of course, it isn’t always possible to avoid allergens altogether. A person having a mild reaction can usually take over-the-counter medications and wait and see if the condition improves on its own. Signs of a mild reaction can include skin irritation, hives, and nausea or stomach discomfort. As long as a person is not covered in hives and there is no swelling around the mouth, face, or throat, treatment for an allergic reaction to seafood can include taking an antihistamine and waiting for the symptoms to dissipate on their own. Symptoms of food allergies should clear up within a couple of days.

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

For a more severe allergic reaction to seafood, a patient should see a doctor. Moderate and severe allergic reactions can include swelling, hives covering the body, vomiting, and shortness of breath. In this case, the doctor will likely administer steroid injection and possibly prescribe an oral steroid for the patient to take over the next couple of weeks in order to make sure that symptoms do not flare up again. Depending on the severity of the swelling, the patient may also be observed for a period of time to make sure that breathing passageways are not obstructed.

An allergic reaction to seafood may require use of an EpiPen.
An allergic reaction to seafood may require use of an EpiPen.

A life-threatening allergic reaction to seafood requires an immediate visit to the hospital. Many people who have allergies severe enough to produce an obstructed, swollen throat or anaphylaxis carry an injectable steroid shot to use in an emergency. Treatment begins by administering this shot, usually into the thigh, and then immediately calling an ambulance. Once at the hospital, a patient may be treated for a severe allergic reaction to seafood with a number of different types of medication.

Signs of an allergic reaction to seafood may include hives.
Signs of an allergic reaction to seafood may include hives.

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