Solv / Lab Tests / Food Allergy Testing / Seafood Allergy Testing

Seafood Allergy Testing

This measures your immune system's response to specific seafood, such as crab, lobster, shrimp, tuna and others.

Collection method

Typically blood (venipuncture)

Test preparation

None

Restrictions

Ages 18+ only; Could vary by provider

Turnaround time

Typically 48-72 hours

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Seafood Allergy test

Seafood allergy testing typically involves a combination of a medical history review, physical examination, and diagnostic tests, according to the Food Allergy Institute.

The Mayo Clinic notes that allergies to crustaceans are the most common type of seafood allergy. They also say that some people are allergic to one type of seafood while being able to eat others.

How is seafood allergy testing performed?

Seafood allergy testing can be done with either skin tests or blood tests, according to the Mayo Clinic. Skin tests involve placing a small number of proteins found in a particular seafood under the skin, and then observing you for a reaction. Blood tests can also be used to detect seafood allergies by measuring the levels of IgE antibodies in the blood. If the levels of IgE antibodies are high after being exposed to a seafood protein, it indicates an allergic reaction to seafood.

When should I get tested for seafood allergies?

You should consider allergy testing if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction after being exposed to seafood, according to the Food Allergy Institute.

Additionally, the Food Allergy Institute notes that if you have a family history of seafood allergies, you may be more likely to have allergies to seafood yourself and should consider getting tested.

What to expect with seafood allergy testing

There is usually little to no preparation needed for seafood allergy testing. Your healthcare provider can provide specific details if there are any special considerations you need to take before testing.

Getting tested for seafood allergies

Most allergy testing can be done at a healthcare facility such as a hospital, walk-in clinic, urgent care, or primary care office. Your doctor can also make a referral to see an allergist—a physician who specializes in testing for and managing allergies.

Can I get an at-home test for seafood allergies?

There are many at-home allergy test kits available for purchase, including food allergy and food sensitivity tests. The sample collection varies, depending on the brand of test, and results are usually available within a few days to a few weeks.

It is important to note that while at-home allergy test kits may be convenient, they may not be as accurate as tests performed in a healthcare setting. If you receive a positive result from an at-home test, it is recommended that you follow up with a healthcare provider for confirmation and further evaluation.

Additionally, if you are experiencing severe allergy symptoms, the Food Allergy Institute notes that it is more appropriate to get tested in a healthcare setting, where you can discuss your potential treatment options with a healthcare provider.

Cost of seafood allergy testing

The cost of allergy testing—including seafood allergy testing—can vary depending on several factors, including the type of test being performed, the location of the testing facility, and your insurance coverage.

Seafood allergy tests typically cost between $97 and $136 per test, according to FindLabTest.com. The cost depends on the specific test and the laboratory performing the test.

Symptoms of seafood allergies

The symptoms of seafood allergies can vary from mild to severe, according to the Mayo Clinic. These symptoms include:

  • Hives
  • Itchy, irritated skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat, or other parts of the body
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Coughing and choking or a tight feeling in the throat
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting

Additionally, severe seafood allergies can cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. The symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • A swollen throat or tongue or tightness in the throat (airway constriction) that makes it difficult for you to breathe
  • Coughing, choking, or wheezing with trouble breathing
  • Severe skin rash, hives, itching, or swelling
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting

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Seafood Allergy Test FAQs

Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about lab tests.

Yes, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is possible to develop a seafood allergy later in life, even if you have never had an allergic reaction to seafood before. In some cases, people may develop a seafood allergy due to increased exposure to the allergen or as a result of a change in the immune system.
The most common types of seafood that people are allergic to, according to the Food Allergy Institute include:
  • Shellfish (such as shrimp, lobster, crab, and clams)
  • Fish (such as salmon, tuna, and halibut)
  • Squid/octopus
There is no cure for seafood allergies, and the Mayo Clinic notes that the most common treatment is avoiding the allergen. In the case of accidental exposure, symptoms can be managed with medications according to the Mayo Clinic. Some medications used for the treatment of seafood allergies are:
  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Epinephrine
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots)
Allergic reactions to seafood can occur within minutes to a few hours after consuming the food, according to the Food Allergy Institute. However, in rare cases, symptoms may not appear until several hours later.
It is possible to have an allergic reaction to seafood by just touching it, particularly if you have an open cut or wound, according to the Food Allergy Institute. However, skin contact alone is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction than eating seafood.

This publication is not intended to solicit the purchase of laboratory testing from any individual consumer.

Dr. Rob Rohatsch, MD

Updated on Jan 25, 2023

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rob Rohatsch, MD
LinkedIn

Dr. Rob Rohatsch currently serves as Chief Medical Officer for Solv Health. Dr. Rohatsch brings his extensive background in multi-site ambulatory medicine operations, on-demand healthcare, and consumerism to Solv, where he helps drive strategic initiatives in a cross functional executive role. He brings comprehensive healthcare expertise ranging from medical group operations to revenue cycle management and clinical expertise.

Dr. Rohatsch completed his military service in the US Air Force and earned his MD from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Rohatsch served on the Yale School of Medicine faculty teaching at the medical school and is currently on faculty at the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee teaching in the Executive MBA Program. He also serves on several boards and chairs The TJ Lobraico Foundation.

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