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Fish Allergy

What Is Fish Allergy?

Finned fish is one of the most common food allergies. This allergy usually is lifelong. About 40 percent of people with fish allergy experience their first allergic reaction to fish as adults. In one study, salmon, tuna, catfish and cod were the fish to which people most commonly reported allergic reactions.

When a person with an allergy to a particular fish is exposed to that fish, proteins in the fish bind to IgE antibodies made by the person’s immune system. This triggers the person’s immune defenses, leading to reaction symptoms that can be mild or very severe.

Finned fish and shellfish are not closely related. Being allergic to one does not always mean that you must avoid both, though care is needed to prevent cross-contact between fish and shellfish.

About 40 percent of people with fish allergy experience their first allergic reaction as adults.

Living with Fish Allergy
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Gupta RS, Warren CM, Smith BM, Blumenstock JA, Jiang J, Davis MM, Nadeau KC. The Public Health Impact of Parent-Reported Childhood Food Allergies in the United States. Pediatrics 2018; 142(6):e20181235

Gupta RS, Warren CM, Smith BM, Jiang J, Blumenstock JA, Davis MM, Schleimer RP, Nadeau KC. Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults. JAMA Network Open 2019; 2(1):e185630.doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.5630.

Sicherer SH, Munoz-Furlong A, Sampson HA. Prevalence of seafood allergy in the United States determined by a random telephone survey. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2004; 114(1):159-65.

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