Atlanta shellfish allergy development.

Shellfish allergies are among the most severe types of food allergies, potentially causing anaphylaxis in extreme cases. If you experience symptoms after eating any crustacean or mollusk, seeking an effective shellfish allergy management plan is essential. Unlike most food allergies, shellfish allergies are more common in adults than children. But do shellfish allergies actually develop later in life, and who is at risk?

Can Shellfish Allergies Develop in Adults?

Shellfish allergies can indeed develop later in life, potentially affecting adults of all ages. Even if you’ve always been comfortable eating various types of shellfish, it is possible to experience symptoms at some stage in your life.

According to a study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the mean age of shellfish allergy diagnosis was 17.7 years. In comparison, the mean age of adult-onset shellfish allergy was 28.3 years. Among adults with shellfish allergies, those allergic to crustaceans (such as crab, lobster, prawn and shrimp) were more common at 54.4%, compared with those allergic to mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters and scallops) at 45.8%. Individuals may be allergic to one type of shellfish or multiple types, highlighting the importance of food allergy testing for managing health.

Why Do Shellfish Allergies Develop Later in Life?

The exact reasons why shellfish allergies might develop later in life are unknown. However, various theories consider what may be happening.

  • Younger children are less likely to eat shellfish and might not show symptoms until adulthood.
  • Repeated exposure to shellfish may cause the immune system to become sensitized and eventually lead to an allergy.
  • As people age, changes in the immune system may make them more susceptible to developing allergies.
  • Cross-reactivity due to similarities in the proteins of shellfish and dust mites could cause an allergic reaction.

While allergies to milk, eggs and other foods are frequently outgrown as the immune system develops, shellfish allergies often persist throughout a person’s life.  For this reason, a reliable allergy management plan is essential to avoid allergic reactions and remain healthy.

What Can You Do if You Get Shellfish Allergy Symptoms?

If you suffer a severe reaction to shellfish such as rapid heartbeat, dizziness or breathing difficulties, seek emergency medical attention right away. In such cases, you may require epinephrine and might need to carry an auto-injector to address possible future severe reactions. Your allergist will perform food allergy testing to identify the specific type of shellfish you are allergic to, and develop a management plan to reduce risk and prevent exposure.

Shellfish Allergy Management for Adults and Children in Atlanta

If you suffer from common shellfish allergy symptoms, visit one of our centers for comprehensive allergy testing. We are located in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment today.

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