What to do for skin rash due to shellfish?

19 December 2014
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19 December 2014, Comments: 0

Skin rashes that develop right after handling or consuming shellfish can indicate a serious food allergy. If you do not suspect other known triggers for contact dermatitis, it is best to consult a doctor to undergo testing for shellfish allergy. Crustaceans such as shrimp, echinoderms such as sea urchins and mollusks such as oysters can trigger allergic reactions. Among shellfish, crustaceans such as lobsters, shrimp and crabs can produce most of the allergic reactions among highly sensitive individuals. If a family member might be allergic to shellfish, it is best that you are prepared by enrolling in a course on first aid today.


The indications of allergic contact dermatitis usually include redness, skin irritation, itchiness and warmth. In most cases, patches of skin can erupt in raised lumps or hives or can form blisters that are filled with fluid. These symptoms can manifest right after exposure to shellfish or even two days after. An allergy to shellfish can occur in both children and adults.

Skin rashes-shellfish

Even though the skin rash will start to diminish once exposure to shellfish is stopped, they have the tendency to linger.

If the symptoms only involve the skin, the individual might still suffer from a wide range of health issues at any time. It is important to note that preparing and cooking shellfish will allow the protein to become airborne and once inhaled, it will exaggerate the response of the body. Additional health issues include stuffed or runny nose, mouth swelling and itchiness, stomach upset and even anaphylaxis in rare cases.

Considerations to bear in mind

If an individual is allergic to shellfish, any exposure to the microscopic allergens can trigger anaphylaxis but it occurs less from skin contact than from ingestion or inhalation. It is recommended to call emergency assistance if the individual starts to develop additional symptoms such as weakness, erratic pulse or difficulty breathing. Always remember that anaphylaxis can quickly progress to respiratory arrest, loss of consciousness, coma and even death.

Allergies among children come and go and typically last for a lifetime. Take note that permanent food allergies could not be cured or even lessened with immunotherapy shots, thus they face constant risk for severe allergic reactions.

Identifying an allergy

An individual will develop skin rashes from substances not related to shellfish such as household cleaners and other foods. It is recommended to consult a doctor in order to identify a possible issue with shellfish or rule out an allergic response. A blood test, skin test or a special diet can reveal if shellfish and other fish must be eliminated from the diet.

How to deal with shellfish allergy

Even though the skin rash will start to diminish once exposure to shellfish is stopped, they have the tendency to linger. Topical medications and creams can be given to reduce the skin rash and irritation. There are also over-the-counter corticosteroid creams and calamine lotion available that the individual can use to reduce the itchiness and inflammation.

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