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Shellfish Allergy Testing & Treatment

NYC Food Allergy Doctor – Dr. Dean Mitchell

Telehealth Meetings Available for Shellfish Allergy Treatment

One of the most common food allergies, particularly among adults, is shellfish allergy which can include allergic reactions to both crustaceans (shrimp, crab, and lobster) and mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters, and squid). And this condition can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening reactions. 

Preventing a shellfish allergy reaction has historically involved strict avoidance of food products containing shellfish proteins. With new advances in medical treatments, we can now treat your shellfish allergy so you don’t have to be so vigilant about avoiding shellfish.

How We Treat Shellfish Allergies

At Mitchell Medical Group, we can use a combination of XOLAIR, the only FDA-approved treatment proven to reduce allergic reactions to foods, and sublingual allergy drops to treat shellfish allergies.

Xolair is a drug approved by the FDA that helps people aged one and older with food allergies. It greatly reduces the chance of having severe allergic reactions, like anaphylaxis, when accidentally exposed to different food allergens. The drug’s safety and effectiveness were proven in a top-quality medical study called a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Sublingual allergy drops not only target the symptoms of allergies but rather eradicate the underlying condition by helping your body build up a tolerance to the allergen(s) causing your symptoms to shellfish.

Symptoms of Shellfish Allergy

Reactions for a shellfish allergy range from mild symptoms such as hives or a stuffy nose to severe and even life-threatening symptoms. And just because you react one way to one type of shellfish doesn’t mean you’ll respond the same way to others. You may only react to one type of shellfish or you could react to all types.

shellfish allergy doctor nyc

The most common symptoms include:

  • Hives or rash
  • Itching or tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat, or other body parts
  • Nasal congestion or trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Dizziness, fainting, or a rapid heartbeat
  • Weak pulse
  • Tightness in throat, hoarse voice
  • Pale or blue coloring of the skin

Severe reactions can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis symptoms include difficulty breathing, severe drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and rapid or weak pulse. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms after eating shellfish, book an appointment with Dr. Mitchell today to get an allergy test.


How We Test for & Diagnosis a Shellfish Allergy

Diagnosing shellfish allergies can be complicated as symptoms can vary from person to person and you may not always experience the same symptoms with every reaction. For over 20 years, Mitchell Medical Group has worked with patients with food allergies and we have a proven track record of not only diagnosing food allergies but helping our patients find relief.

Allergic reactions to shellfish can affect the skin, respiratory system, digestive system, and heart. Although shellfish allergies usually start in adulthood, they can happen at any age.
Testing for Shellfish Allergy

We can utilize the following methods to identify if you have a shellfish allergy:

  1. Medical History and Symptom Review – we get a complete medical history including symptoms, what you ate, timing of the reaction, and previous health issues
  2. Allergy blood test – this test measures the presence of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in response to shellfish proteins.
  3. Component testing for food allergies
  4. BAT (basophil activation testing) – a blood test that assesses the degree of sensitivity to a food; it’s goal is to replace the need for oral food challenges

When getting tested for a shellfish allergy, be prepared to answer detailed questions about the history of your allergy symptoms. These questions will be about what and how much you ate, how long it took for symptoms to develop, which symptoms you experienced, and how long the symptoms lasted. The more detailed information we can collect, in addition to testing, the easier it is for Dr. Mitchell to determine if you are suffering from a shellfish allergy.

Blood tests for food allergies measure the IgE antibody levels for specific foods, with results usually ready in one to two weeks. Dr. Mitchell, a board-certified allergist, interprets these results to help diagnose the allergy. However, these tests alone aren’t conclusive; a positive result doesn’t always mean you’ll react to the food, and a negative result is more reliable for ruling out an allergy. For a definite diagnosis, Dr. Mitchell may perform an oral food challenge, where you eat increasing amounts of the suspected food under strict supervision with emergency support available.

What Fish is Shellfish

There are two types of shellfish:

Crustaceans – shrimp, crayfish, crab, lobster

Mollusks – clams, scallops, oysters, mussels

If you have a shellfish allergy or think you have a shellfish allergy it’s important to avoid the following foods and ingredients.

  • Abalone
  • Clams (such as cherrystone, littleneck, pismo, quahog)
  • Cockle
  • Conch
  • Crab
  • Crawfish and crayfish
  • Lobster
  • Mollusks
  • Mussels
  • Octopus
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp and prawns
  • Snails
  • Squid (calamari)

Shellfish Allergy Treatment with Sublingual Allergy Immunotherapy

Our treatment for shellfish allergies can start with XOLAIR, which protects you against the most severe allergic reactions to shellfish, and sublingual allergy drops or sublingual allergy immunotherapy. Sublingual allergy immunotherapy helps you get true desensitization from your shellfish allergy.

people walking in nyc street

Sublingual allergy immunotherapy (SLIT) treats shellfish allergies by regularly giving you small amounts of the shellfish allergen. This process helps build up the body’s tolerance to the allergen. Over time, the amount of the allergen is gradually increased, with the goal of desensitizing the body to larger quantities.

This method reduces the risk of severe allergic reactions from accidental exposures and improves your quality of life. SLIT retrains the immune system to respond less aggressively to the shellfish allergen, decreasing the likelihood of adverse reactions.

The beauty of this therapy is that it is truly a natural treatment as you are receiving a substance that you are allergic to and allowing your immune system to solve the problem. Using your immune system as a barrier to allergens is the optimal solution for long-lasting results. The goal is to develop life-long immunity to your shellfish allergy and be free of medications.



Benefits of Sublingual Allergy Immunotherapy

guy eating seafood
  • Daily Dose: Drops are placed under the tongue daily to get a steady, consistent treatment
  • Pain-free treatment at home: After receiving doctor training and a starter kit, you can administer the treatment at home
  • Less office visits: Majority of the treatment is administered at home so you have less office visits and hassle
  • Customized care: Dr. Mitchell provides the right type of allergy drops for your needs and adjusts the dosage over time, as needed
  • Cures allergy/allergies in 3-5 years
  • Safe and easy for kids as young as 4 years old
  • Treats the underlying cause of the allergy
  • Targets all of the allergens at once
  • Easy to comply with treatment
  • High success rate of desensitizing allergies

Dr. Dean Mitchell has made it his life’s work to help his patients restore their health through alternative and holistic medicine including finding relief from life-threatening shellfish allergies. Book your appointment today!

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Telehealth Meetings Available!

57 W 57th St, Suite 601
New York, NY 10019


Rockville Centre
165 North Village Avenue, Suite 129
Rockville Centre, NY 11570


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