Allergies to shellfish or crustacean and mollusk allergies as they are also known are among the most common allergies and as much as 2% of the population has this kind of allergy. Here are some interesting facts:
- There are two kinds of shellfish allergy: a crustacean allergy is triggered by lobster, shrimp, prawn and crab, whereas mollusk allergies are triggered by scallops, oysters, mussels, squid etc. It is not necessary that one who is allergic to crustaceans may also be allergic to mollusks and vice versa.
- Very rarely shellfish allergy can be life threatening and could cause anaphylaxis (low blood pressure, breathing difficulties etc).
- There is a genetic component to shellfish allergies; and if a person has a close family member with this allergy, it is best to be tested for it.
- Women appear to be more susceptible to this allergy than do men.
- Being allergic to one kind of mollusk or crustacean can increase chances of being allergic to others and this cross reactivity is also responsible for cockroach and dust mite allergies.
- Many may be allergic to shellfish and not even know it. Since this is an expensive food item, many may not be able to afford it and not know that they are allergic to it.