Listed as one of the Top 8 food allergens, a fish allergy is one to be educated on. Fish allergies are not the same, nor even in the same family as a shellfish allergy. A fish allergy comprises what are called "finned fish", i.e. salmon, tuna, flounder, etc. This is one food allergy that usually becomes apparent in adulthood (this could be because babies and children are less liking to be consuming fish in their everyday diet). The onset is usually seen later in life which makes it even more important for you to be aware of. 40% of people have reported that their first reaction occurred in adulthood.
A fish allergy can be triggered at any time, even if you've been eating fish for years. It can happen with one type of fish, for example, the salmon you're having for dinner, but you may have just eaten tuna for lunch and had been fine. However, the case is usually that if you're allergic to one type of fish, you will have the reaction to another, and thus is advised that you avoid all fish to keep yourself safe. The symptoms of an allergic reaction are the same as any food allergy: hives, rash, trouble breathing, coughing, nausea, cramping, coughing, runny nose, and of course full anaphylaxis which require immediate use of an Epi-Pen and medical care.
There are 20,000+ varieties of finned fish, so of course, the ones listed above are the common ones you'll most likely come across. As for the "may contain group", some are obvious (i.e. fish stock), but others like alcohol may have surprised you (it surprised me!). Reading labels and contacting brands and companies is a must in this situation. Although some may be rare, you can't risk it with a food allergy. On that note, when eating out, make sure you food is cooked separately from any fish or appliances/prep areas where fish is involved (i.e. grills are a big one!).
Lucky for you, there are great vegan versions of some favorites like Caesar dressings, Worcestershire sauce, and bbq sauce. These will not contain fish and can be used safely! If you're really craving fish, Sophie's Kitchen and Gardein make mock fish products. Although, I recommend you skip the fake and opt for "chickpea salad" instead of tuna 😉
So tell me:
+ Do you or a loved one have a fish allergy? Share you tips and stories below!
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