General Practice 2022

Shrimp allergyão: symptoms and what to do

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Shrimp allergyão: symptoms and what to do
Shrimp allergyão: symptoms and what to do

Shrimp allergy can be identified from the signs and symptoms that appear after consuming the shrimp or smelling it, such as itching, the appearance of red plaques on the skin, swelling on the face, especially in the eyes and mouth, and in the throat, creating the sensation of a lump in the throat.

In general, people with shrimp allergy are also allergic to other seafood, such as oysters, lobster and shellfish, and it is important to be aware of the emergence of allergy related to these foods.

Since, in most cases, shrimp allergy symptoms tend to be severe and even cause shortness of breath, it is important that this food is completely removed from the diet, and it is recommended that the person with allergy is carrying an epinephrine injection pen, which can be used in emergency situations, especially when eating out, for example.

Shrimp allergy symptoms

Shrimp allergy symptoms may appear a few minutes after consumption, however, in some cases, just the smell is enough to lead to the appearance of symptoms, the main ones being:

  • Itching;
  • Red patches on the skin;
  • Swelling of lips, eyes, tongue and throat;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Dizziness or fainting;
  • Pressure drop.

In the most serious cases, the allergy can cause an exaggerated reaction of the immune system, causing anaphylaxis, a serious condition that causes difficulty in breathing and that must be treated immediately in the hospital, as it can lead to death. Here's how to identify anaphylactic shock and what to do.

Allergy to the preservative used in frozen foods

Sometimes allergy symptoms arise not because of the shrimp, but because of a preservative called "sodium metabisulphite", which is used in frozen foods. In these cases, the severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of preservative consumed, and the symptoms do not appear when the shrimp is eaten fresh.

To avoid this problem, you should always look at the ingredients list on the label of frozen products and avoid those that contain sodium metabisulfite.

How to confirm the diagnosis

To confirm the diagnosis of shrimp allergy, in addition to evaluating the symptoms that arise, the doctor may also order allergy tests such as a skin test, in which a small amount of the protein found in shrimp is injected into the skin to check whether or not there will be a reaction, and the blood test, which checks for the presence of defense cells against shrimp proteins.Understand how the allergy test is done.

What to do

Shrimp allergy is a potentially dangerous situation, as it can impede breathing when it leads to swelling of the glottis in the throat, causing suffocation and can lead to death, depending on how long the person is without oxygen. So, in case of a severe allergy to shrimp, with shortness of breath, you should:

  1. Immediately call an ambulance or have someone do it by calling 192;
  2. Laying the person down on their back on the floor, turning them on their side so they do not suffocate if they start to vomit;
  3. Loosen tight clothing such as a shirt, tie or belt, for example;
  4. Start cardiac massage if breathing stops, until medical help arrives. Learn how to perform cardiac massage correctly.

When a person already knows they have a shrimp allergy, they are likely to have an epinephrine injection, in the form of a pen, in a bag or pocket, for example.If you can find such a pen, apply it as quickly as possible on your thighs or arm, to make breathing easier.

It is important to know first aid procedures for shrimp allergy, especially when working in restaurants or knowing someone with this type of allergy. Despite the difficulty in breathing, you should not pierce the person's throat, as there is a very high risk of causing damage to the structures inside the throat.

What to do in case of a mild allergy

If the person does not have shortness of breath, but has other allergy symptoms such as swollen or red face, an antiallergic such as Cetirizine or Desloratadine should be used to prevent symptoms from continuing to develop and may cause difficulty to breathe.

Initially, the tablet should be placed under the tongue so that it is absorbed more easily and takes less time to take effect.However, as the tablets usually taste quite bitter, it may not be possible to allow them to completely melt, and you can drink the rest with water.

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