What is a fish allergy?
An allergy to finned fish is among the top 8 most common food allergies and can be severe, potentially causing anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition. As many as 40% of people reporting a fish allergy experienced their first allergic reaction to fish as adults, according to a study. Salmon, tuna and halibut are the most common fish to which people are allergic.
Having an allergy to finned fish does not necessarily mean one is allergic to shellfish such as shrimp, crab or lobster, as there is no relationship between shellfish and fish. However, some people may have allergies to both shellfish and fish in the same way one would have an allergy to milk and peanuts.
More than half of people who are allergic to one species of fish are allergic to all fish, so allergists tend to recommend that allergic people to avoid all fish. Some restaurants may also swap out cheaper fish for another without notifying the customer, and there can be a high risk of cross-contamination when fish is prepared, especially in seafood restaurants. Speak with your allergist to undergo food allergy tests to discover which species of fish you can safely eat and whether or not you should avoid fish altogether.
While having an allergy to fish protein (paravalbumin) is most common, some people may also be allergic to fish gelatin, made from fish skin and bones. People with a fish allergy should talk to their doctor before consuming fish oil supplements, which may contain molecules of the allergen
Contrary to popular belief, those with fish allergies do not need to avoid iodine and radiocontrast material in medical tests, as there is no relation between iodine and fish allergies.