Seafood allergies occur at an early age, mainly to salmon and shrimp. Those are among the conclusions of a study by Canadian researchers at McGill University, Montreal, whose goal was to characterize initial allergic reactions to seafood (fish and shellfish) in children.
They reviewed the charts of children (N=230) diagnosed with seafood allergy between 1991 and 2011 (based on history and positive skin test /elevated fish- specific IgE) at Montreal Children’s Hospital. One hundred and thirty-five fish and 95 shellfish allergic children were identified. The median age at initial reaction was 2.4 years for fish and 8.7 years for shellfish. Reactions to fish and shellfish were more common in males, 60.3% and 55.8%, respectively. The reactions occurred most often following ingestion (94.7% and 92.6%, respectively).
According to the researchers, the fish and shellfish most often implicated were salmon (27.4%) and shrimp (71.6%). In 35.1% of initial reactions to fish and 36.8% of reactions to shellfish, the symptoms were moderate/severe. Only 2.3% and 9.5% of all initial reactions were treated with epinephrine. Among those with fish allergy, 66.4% had eczema and 37.5% had asthma vs 45.7% and 42.6% with shellfish allergy.
“Epinephrine is severely underutilized,” the researchers concluded.