You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to an allergy specialist.
What you can do
Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to prepare for your appointment. Before your appointment, make a list that includes:
- Symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to allergy-like symptoms
- Your family's history of allergy and asthma, including specific types of allergies if you know them
- Medications, vitamins or supplements that you or your child is taking
- Questions to ask your doctor
Questions related to shellfish allergy or other types of allergy may include:
- Are the symptoms most likely due to an allergy?
- Will I need any allergy tests?
- Should I see an allergist?
- Do I need to carry epinephrine?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will likely have questions for you. He or she may ask:
- What symptoms are you having? How severe are they?
- When did you first notice your symptoms?
- Have you had a reaction to shellfish in the past?
- What kind of shellfish did you eat?
- How soon after eating shellfish did your symptoms occur?
- What other foods did you eat during your meal? Don't forget sauces, beverages and side dishes.
- Did any other people dining with you experience similar symptoms?
- Is there a history of allergy in your family?
- Do you have other allergies, such as hay fever?
- Do you have asthma or eczema (atopic dermatitis)?
What you can do in the meantime
Avoid eating any type of shellfish before your appointment.
Jun. 23, 2011
- Lopata AL, et al. Shellfish allergy. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2010;40: 850.
- Lopata AL, et al. New insights into seafood allergy. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2009;9:270.
- Sicherer SH. Seafood allergies: Fish and shellfish. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 5, 2011.
- Atopic and allergic disorders. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec13/ch165/ch165c.html?qt=seadfood%20allergy&alt=sh. Accessed April 8, 2011.
- Seafood allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/patients/advocate/2006/winter/seafood.asp. Accessed April 8, 2011.
- Kurowski K, et al. Food allergies: Detection and management. American Family Physician. 2008;77:1678.