Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and may perform a physical exam to find or rule out other medical problems. He or she may also recommend one or both of the following tests:
- Skin test. In this test, your skin is pricked and exposed to small amounts of the proteins found in shellfish. If you're allergic, you'll develop a raised bump (hive) at the test site on your skin.
- Blood test. Also called allergen-specific IgE antibody test or radioallergosorbent (RAST) test, this test can measure your immune system's response to shellfish proteins by measuring the amount of certain antibodies in your bloodstream, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.
A history of allergic reactions shortly after exposure to shellfish can be a sign of a shellfish allergy, but allergy testing is the only sure way to tell what's causing your symptoms and to rule out other possibilities, such as food poisoning.
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.
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- 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.
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