Fish Allergies are very common in countries where a lot of fish is eaten. About 20% of people worldwide are allergic to fish. In America about 7 million people report having allergies to fish. Fish allergies are lifelong. It is very unlikely a person will outgrow it. Most people with fish allergies don’t develop them until they are older, and 40% of them are adults when they have their first reaction. The protein in the flesh of the fish is the trigger for allergic people, but all parts of the fish are contaminated. Even fish oil and fish gelatin are harmful to a person allergic to fish. It is possible to be allergic to only one type of fish. But most people with fish allergies are allergic to many varieties of fish. This is because the proteins of one are similar to the proteins of other kinds of fish. For example, mackerel, haddock, cod, hake, and whiting all have similar proteins. In general raw fish causes more of an allergic reaction than cooked fish, because heating the fish alters the protein structure. But this is not always true. Very sensitive people cannot even be in a room where fish is being cooked because it will trigger an asthma attack. Reactions to fish allergies can be immediate or can be delayed up to 24 hours after exposure. Fish is known to cause dangerous anaphylactic reactions in highly sensitive people, especially bass, cod, halibut, herring, orange roughy, pollack, salmon, sardines, snapper, swordfish, trout, and tuna. It should be noted that carrageen is a marine algae and not a fish, and is considered safe for fish allergic people. Sometimes people have what seems like an allergic reaction to fish, but they are actually reacting to eating a spoiled fish. They get swelling, hives, asthmatic symptoms. A spoiled fish contains histamine in its tissues. If a person eats fish regularly and doesn’t have a reaction normally this could be the reason.
Barbecue sauce (some are made from Worcestershire)
Caponata, a Sicilian eggplant relish
Imitation fish or shellfish
Dining out in a restaurant can be quite dangerous if the staff are not properly trained to tag, prepare, and deliver your food safely.
Ask restaurant staff if they use the same fryer to cook fish as they do other items like french fries.
(This is not a comprehensive list)
Caesar salad dressing
Ceviche (fish or shellfish ‘cooked’ in citrus marinade)
Fumet (fish stock)
Gelatin (it is usually made from pigskins, cattle bones, and cattle hides. A very small percentage used today is from fish bones and skins.)
Nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
Omega-3 supplements (only use flaxseed varieties)
Surimi (used in imitation crab meat)
Vitamin D-3 (is derived from lanolin (sheep) or fish.) Be sure to check your milk brands fortified with D-3.