People rarely outgrow seafood allergies

October 15, 2018 in Allergies & Intolerances, Nutrition Topics in the News

People rarely outgrow seafood allergies

A small study of children and adults in Canada suggests that fish and shellfish allergies don’t usually resolve over time. 

Together with nut allergies, fish and shellfish sensitivities are the biggest causes of severe life-threatening (anaphylaxis) allergic reactions. But little is known about how long these seafood allergies last. 

Data from Canada and the U.S. suggest that about 0.5 percent of adults and up to 1 percent of children are allergic to fish. And anywhere from 1.4 percent to 2.5 percent of adults and 0.5 percent to 2 percent of children are allergic to shellfish.

About the study

To see how common it is for these allergies to go away, researchers from McGill University Health Center in Montreal recruited 63 patients, including 37 with allergies to fish, 25 with allergies to shellfish, and one with allergies to both. 

Study participants or their guardians were asked to fill out surveys that included questions about their initial and most severe reactions to fish or shellfish, plus allergy symptoms such as rashes, itching, runny nose, coughing abdominal pain, nausea, and difficulty breathing. Researchers also reviewed medical records. 

The most common allergy-inducing fish was salmon, affecting about 18 percent of those with fish allergies. Shrimp was the most common allergy-inducing shellfish, affecting about half of the participants with shellfish allergies. 

After following kids and adults with seafood allergies for up to six years, researchers found that each year, less than 1 percent saw their allergy resolve. 

A food allergy was considered to be resolved if the patient was able to tolerate seafood at least once a week or if their doctor had diagnosed the allergy as resolved. 

The study is limited due to its small size, the authors noted.

Source:  The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, online September 22, 2018.

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