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New Shellfish Allergy


Developed a very severe contact shellfish/potentially fish allergy over the last 14 months. Now I am trying to educate myself as much as I can and get my work to take me seriously.

Was hospitalized for anaphaylaxis three times in the last week, one being work related and another being a secondary reaction from the one at work.

I work in an adult Family home and am fighting with them to accommodate this allergy. My house manager's solution, " Just put on some gloves or something." 

Ouch.  That's pretty insensitive, given your demonstrated sensitivity.   :-[

Have you been seeing an allergist?  If you haven't, I encourage you to get one so that you have some medical documentation on your side.  THEN, you can contact regulatory agencies for help.  Life-threatening food allergy may be considered a disability under the law; it certainly sounds as though your particular presentation probably qualifies.

I get RAST testing done Tuesday and have a follow-up from the ER with the allergist the week after. Hopefully I can tell them then officially what I already know- life-threatening shellfish/fish?   

In the mean time I get to wear rubber gloves my entire 8-12 hours shifts.

Yeah, hopefully RAST results will tell you very definitively which allergen(s) you are needing to avoid. 

Chances are good that it's either crustaceans or a particular class of fishes, but of course, this may not really matter given how cross-contaminated most sources of either one are with the other (I'm shellfish allergic-- at least this is what we think... it's possible that it's molluscs or something odd, but avoidance for shellfish seems to keep me reaction-free.  Mostly).

Gloves may not be enough if you are required to be in an area where fish/shellfish are being heated during cooking.  I'd ask your doc for some guidance on that one if it seems to be a problem.  Do you have asthma?  Epinephrine injectors of your own? A medic-alert bracelet?  You'll probably want the latter once you and your allergist determine precisely what needs to be on it.  You'll want the epinephrine sooner, it sounds like.  Also know that anaphylaxis can present as 'just' a refractory asthma attack.  Those kinds of reactions can really easily escalate out of control, since it's so easy to dismiss the early symptoms.

Unfortunately, you're also discovering (the hard way) that once you've anaphylaxed, your immune system remains primed for additional reactions (without much of a triggering stimulus) for quite some time.  During that period of time, it pays to be exceptionally cautious.  Many people find that this period of heightened response lasts for several weeks. 

On the other hand, maybe that gives you some hope that what you're currently experiencing might be a temporary jump in your sensitivity.  On the other, it doesn't much matter unless you can avoid well enough to quit reacting to begin with.

Glad you found us, by the way.   :bye:  I forgot to say so earlier-- but-- a warm welcome to FAS. 

The next several weeks should be interesting..

I have an alert bracelet and 4 epipens. Currently I keep antihistamines and an emergency plan at work with a allergy kit. 

I hope to avoid the ER for a while now.... 


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