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Author Topic: Odd fish allergy  (Read 6699 times)

Description: frustrated

Jason G.

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Odd fish allergy
« on: February 06, 2013, 03:09:41 PM »
I am so glad I found this site!! I have been living with an odd allergy and it drives me insane. Hopefully with your help I can come closer to understanding the allergy.

In short, I am allergic to some fish and not others. The reaction is stomach/chest discomfort, itchy and swollen throat etc. I noticed this many many years ago (I am 38) when I ate Tuna. This allergy is so frustrating to me because I love the taste of fish.

There was a time when I could eat Tuna in a Subway sandwhich and have no issue but it was rare as most of the time I react. Pretty simple so far but here is where it gets odd and confuses me. I have tried McDonalds Filet O' Fish back when they used either Pollak or Hoki. One made me react and one did not. Below is a short list of fish I know I am UNABLE to eat..

Tuna
Trout
Most (if not all) white fish
Pretty sure Cod but not sure on Tilapia (Took a bite of fried cod and had no issue last night but have had issues before with Cod)
Some imitation crab

BUT, I CAN eat the following in ALL YOU CAN EAT quantities.
Salmon
Shark
(Anything in a shell)
Crab
Shrimp
Lobster
Clams
Oyster
Prawns
Squid

I used to think it was the fish oil but I take fish oil pills and never have a problem with any type of fish oil. I would really like to keep a list of fish I can eat but that would involve me trying them all and writing it down. If I knew I could take something to limit my reaction it may be worth a try.
Any advice or input would be much appreciated. I am just really confused as to what I am actually allergic to.

Offline CMdeux

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Re: Odd fish allergy
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 04:57:01 PM »
 :bye:


Hi Jason!

I'll be back later, but it sounds as though you have a particular protein allergy to fish.  Have you been evaluated by an allergist at any point in time?

Your history seems really, really solid-- and as though an allergist would have very little difficulty helping you figure out PRECISE advice for avoidance. 

It's great that you've kept such careful track of what makes you ill and what doesn't.


It's been my experience with a crustacean allergy that shellfish and fish is often handled as one item in restaurants and manufacturing/sales. What that means, unfortunately, is that I have to be quite careful where I get my fish from-- cross-contamination pretty much always makes me pretty ill.

It sounds like you may have a reasonably high threshold for your allergen, though-- which would explain the 'sometimes it's okay and sometimes not' phenomenon. 

I'd also talk to an allergist about whether you need to carry epinephrine.  If you plan to eat fish from sources with possible cross-contamination, given your symptoms, you might need to carry emergency meds just in case.

Welcome!  :)
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

Offline GoingNuts

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Re: Odd fish allergy
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 05:42:52 PM »
There are several "families" of fish, which also may explain why you can eat some fish and not others.  I'm by no means an expert on fish classification, but a board certified allergist could definitely point you in the right direction here.

As CM said, the tricky part is knowing how the fish was handled/processed - which may not be as big an issue if you were buying it fresh and preparing it yourself, but may be if you are eating in a restaurant.  Many fish dishes are not what they are supposed to be - the "crabmeat" in most sushi immediately comes to mind.  It's not crabmeat at all; it's usually pollack or a combination of other less expensive fish that are pressed and colored to look like crab.

Glad you found us, and I hope you find some useful information here!
"Speak out against the madness" - David Crosby
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Jason G.

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Re: Odd fish allergy
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 08:23:50 PM »
Thank you both for the replies. I may look up a local allergist and see what happens. I have never had an issue with where fish is processed, my shellfish touching other fish etc.. I am always fine unless I eat a few bites or more of the fish. I would really like to find out which fish are the ones to avoid and which I can eat because it's so tasty. :)

Offline CMdeux

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Re: Odd fish allergy
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2013, 05:09:36 PM »
That sounds like a really good idea.

Given your symptoms, you might also emphasize your reaction history and ask-- SPECIFICALLY-- if you should be carrying emergency medications.

The problem with relying on benadryl or other antihistamines is that all it would take is one clueless server in a restaurant who brings out a fish you are actually allergic to (instead of what you thought you were ordering) and you could suddenly find yourself in real trouble breathing or with blood pressure plummeting.  Benadryl won't really help you with either of those things, but epinephrine can.

I'd be quite cautious until you can talk all of this out with a board-certified allergist.  Also-- be sure that you're seeing a practitioner who actually has some experience with FOOD allergy, not just pollen allergies and asthma. 
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

Online Janelle205

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Re: Odd fish allergy
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2013, 06:37:36 PM »
The problem with relying on benadryl or other antihistamines is that all it would take is one clueless server in a restaurant who brings out a fish you are actually allergic to (instead of what you thought you were ordering) and you could suddenly find yourself in real trouble breathing or with blood pressure plummeting.  Benadryl won't really help you with either of those things, but epinephrine can.

This, exactly.  And it wouldn't even necessarily have to be server error, there have been quite a few articles in the news lately about how fish mislabeling is rampant in restaurants, and even grocery stores.
Allergic to soy, egg, tomato, apple, cherry, peach, pear, nectarine, canteloupe, watermelon, severe OAS to others, insect bites (severe to horseflies), various drugs, way too many environmental allergens, and asthma.

Offline Macabre

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Re: Odd fish allergy
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 12:48:58 PM »
Btw--testing can pinpoint the fish.
Me: Sesame, shellfish, chamomile, sage
DS: Peanuts