With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.


20 July 2010

Shellfish Allergies at the Beach

Since my son does not have shellfish allergies, my personal experience with food allergies really is limited to tree nut and peanut allergies. I am wondering if those of you with shellfish allergies can tell me about skin contact with shellfish at the beach. It sounds dangerous to me. I know my son reacts to skin contact with very minute amounts of peanut and/or tree nuts oils, so what happens at the beach?

There are lovely locations not too far from where we live, where children--and adults--dip their toes in the salt water and wade among hermit crabs, spider crabs, horseshoe crabs, shrimp, jellyfish and other sea critters. Their numbers are great enough that you can scoop up a handful of sea animals with your two hands. Can shellfish allergic individuals do this? What if you are pinched by a crab while you're simply standing in the water? Does anyone have personal experience with this? I imagine skin contact with shellfish for a shellfish allergic individual is dangerous in the same way that skin contact with peanut or tree nut oil is dangerous for my peanut and tree nut allergic son. Can anyone shed light on this aspect of shellfish allergies (and fish allergies)? Also, if you are unaware of shellfish or fish allergy and you have a skin contact reaction, what would be a typical or common reaction? In my son's case, we have witnessed hives after skin contact with nuts and peanuts. Thanks in advance for any info you can share on this subject. It makes me look at going to the beach in a whole new way.

7 comments:

AiXeLsyD13 said...

I have a severe shellfish allergy, I've never gotten a rash from handling things like hermit crabs, and I actually went crab fishing in SC with my uncle when I was much younger... no problems there.

My issue with the beach (and any coastal areas) is trying to find a place to eat that doesn't have shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, clams, mussels & calamari out the proverbial wazoo. Any cross-contamination in a kitchen can spell certain doom for me, so I try to dine at places that abstain from cooking this kind of thing.

Maybe I need an index of kosher delis in beach regions... ha ha.

Anonymous said...

I have shellfish allergies and have discovered that each time I go to the beach, I get hives. I have also noticed that each time my breakout gets worse. It would be wise to see an allergist before planning a vacation.

aixelsyd13 said...

Wow, anonymous... I'd definitely go get that checked out. They might be able to pin the hives on something else. Or, if nothing else, I'd get an epi pen if I were you!

Libby said...

We just returned from a vacation that included a trip to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta which was completed by my son's contact reaction to at the stingray touch tank (presumably) to the shrimp that are fed to the rays.

I'm working up to a full blog post about it, but my first thought would be to contact an allergist. My second is to suggest that this is a case where food allergies and environmental allergies meet. Is it similar to peanut shells at a ball game? Whether or not it is safe may depend on how severe the shellfish allergy is. Even if it is tolerable, allergic reactions can become more severe each time the immune response is triggered, so it might be wise to avoid shellfish in the environment as a precaution.

Jennifer B said...

Wow! Thanks for the comments. I imagine most of us who don't live with shellfish allergies don't even think of the risks of going to the beach or seashore for those with fish or shellfish allergies. It's got to be a concern, and aixelsyd13 very good point about where one can eat near the seashore! Another challenge in a place full of sea creatures.

medical equipment said...

i never knew there were so many allergies on the beach. i never had a problem with them before but as i get older i seem to suffer more

Anonymous said...

I'm coming in late to this conversation late.... I have always eaten shellfish, but over the last few years while preparing, cleaning, or cracking shellfish to eat I have broken out in hives on my hands. They become red and itchy in between my fingers. I do not have any type of reaction while eating shellfish, but if I touch it my hands get itchy. An allergy test came up positive for shellfish allergies to shrimp, crab, and lobster. I now carry an epipen, but still eat shellfish and luckily have never had a reaction to eating it. I have also had the same itchy hand reaction twice when snorkeling and I'm thinking I must have touched some sort of shellfish.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...