Shrimp allergy: Skin rash after eating shrimp

If an individual develops a skin rash after ingesting shrimp, he/she is likely to experience a form of food allergy. When it comes to shellfish allergy, it is one of the common food allergies.

A skin rash is one of the initial indications of an allergic reaction and should not be ignored. Once an individual is suspected to have an allergy to shrimp or other foods, a doctor should be consulted so that testing can be carried out to confirm an allergy.

How a skin rash occurs

Any allergic reaction to food starts with an erratic immune response. There are certain proteins present in shrimp that are erroneously identified by the immune system as detrimental to the body. This initiates an immune system response to generate antibodies that attack the protein.

Shrimp allergy

As for a stronger reaction, the individual can develop other symptoms including hives, swollen lips, face, mouth and tongue.

On the next exposure of the individual to the shrimp protein, the immune system releases histamine which is the chemical responsible for triggering the skin rash and other common symptoms.

What are the other symptoms?

Always bear in mind that an allergic reaction can trigger a skin rash in just minutes up to a few hours after consuming any dish that contains shrimp. The reaction to shrimp varies from one individual to another in which a mild reaction includes the distinctive skin rash and itchiness.

As for a stronger reaction, the individual can develop other symptoms including hives, swollen lips, face, mouth and tongue. If the individual is highly sensitive, he/she can also start to wheeze and feel as if the throat is closing which makes it hard to breathe or swallow.

Take note that this is considered as a serious reaction that entails immediate medical care. If the individual develops a skin rash after eating shrimp, he/she must not eat it again until an allergy is confirmed. Remember that allergic reactions become progressively worse after every exposure.

What to do during a severe reaction?

Shrimp and other shellfish are considered one of the main causes of anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction. This is a life-threatening reaction that affects the entire body which results to systemic release of histamine. The symptoms can develop rapidly which includes the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stomach cramps
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Extreme wheezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fainting

If this reaction is not promptly treated, it can result to coma and even death. This severe allergic reaction is a medical emergency that requires emergency care.

Considerations to bear in mind

When an individual develops a skin rash after consuming shrimp, he/she is likely to have the allergy throughout life. It is vital to avoid any exposure to shrimp or shrimp products.

The individual must carefully check all the food product labels if they indicate any shellfish. When eating outside, he/she must ask questions regarding the preparation of dishes being ordered.

It is also recommended to use a medical alert bracelet which states that he/she has shrimp allergy. In most cases, antihistamines can help alleviate the skin rash and hives but a shot of epinephrine is required to counteract a severe reaction. A doctor should be consulted if an injectable epinephrine is required.


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