Mussels are considered as a healthy food that is rich in protein, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. On the other hand, not all can eat them.
Issues in digesting mussels might be linked to various forms of allergies. The usual reactions that might arise if mussels are eaten include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. The marine toxins present in mussels can trigger digestive and neurological symptoms. It is vital to avoid mussels if an allergy is suspected and skipping on them during the summer season can prevent shellfish poisoning.
Am I allergic to mussels?
The usual form of allergic reaction is triggered by the production of IgE antibodies as a response to the proteins in mussels. Even though the individual will experience diarrhea and vomiting, the digestive issues are not the usual signs.
This form of reaction typically affects the skin and airways with itchiness, hives, wheezing, flushing, coughing and throat tightness. In some cases, a dangerous anaphylactic reaction might arise.
If the individual has trouble breathing, fainting, swollen lips or tongue, dizziness, rapid pulse rate and a feeling of impending doom after consuming mussels, call for emergency assistance. Since it is difficult to foresee the seriousness of a reaction, mussels must be avoided if there are any signs of an allergy.
Another form of allergy which is characterized by vomiting, nausea and abdominal cramping might arise after consuming mussels. This reaction typically develops within 2-4 hours.
With this allergy, there is no risk for airway constriction but there is no preventive measure or cure available and could not be detected with tests.
Dinoflagellates are reddish-brown microorganisms that can infect mussels and trigger various forms of shellfish poisoning.
- Paralytic shellfish poisoning – the symptoms include tingling and numbness in the arms, face and legs along with dizziness, headache and nausea. In severe cases, it causes respiratory failure and even death.
- Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning – the signs include numbness or tingling in the arms, mouth and legs along with vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. This is rarely deadly and one can recover in 2-3 days.
- Amnesic shellfish poisoning – this is a rare condition that starts with gastrointestinal distress in 24 hours of ingestion and causes short-term memory loss