You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. Or you may be referred immediately to an allergy specialist.
What you can do
Prepare for your appointment by writing down:
- Symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to an allergy
- Family history of allergy and asthma, including specific types of allergies if you know them
- Medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking
- Questions to ask your doctor
Questions related to shellfish allergy include:
- Are my 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 brochures or other educational materials I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions, as well.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will likely have questions for you, such as:
- What symptoms are you having? How severe are they?
- When did you notice your symptoms?
- Have you reacted 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 others who dined with you have 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.
July 12, 2014
- Sicherer SH. Seafood allergies: Fish and shellfish. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 27, 2014.
- Anaphylaxis. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/anaphylaxis.aspx. Accessed March 26, 2014.
- Shellfish allergy is not a shell game. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/shellfish-allergy-can-be-dangerous.aspx. Accessed March 28, 2014.
- Lopata AL, et al. Shellfish allergy. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2010;40: 850.
- Wasserman S, et al. Food allergy. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. 2011;7(suppl):S7.
- Shellfish allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/food-allergies/types/Pages/shellfish-allergy.aspx. Accessed March 27, 2014.
- Guidance for industry: Questions and answers regarding food allergens, including the Food Allergen and Labeling Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (Edition 4); final guidance. http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/allergens/ucm059116.htm. March 30, 2014.
- Food allergies. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. https://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=20&cont=286. Accessed March 30, 2014.