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Shellfish Allergy Test

This measures your immune system's response to specific shellfish allergens.

Collection method

Typically blood (venipuncture)

Test preparation

None

Restrictions

Ages 18+ only; Could vary by provider

Turnaround time

Typically 48-72 hours

Book a shellfish allergy test near you

Shellfish Allergy test

Shellfish 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, which includes shellfish. They also say that some people are allergic to one type of shellfish while being able to eat others.

What are the common types of shellfish that people are allergic to?

The common types of shellfish that people are allergic to, according to the Food Allergy Institute include:

  • Shrimp
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Scallops
  • Squid
  • Octopus
  • Crayfish

It is important to note that any type of shellfish can potentially cause an allergic reaction, and some people may be allergic to one type of shellfish but not others.

How is shellfish allergy testing performed?

Shellfish allergy testing is performed similarly to other types of allergy testing, with the use of either skin tests or blood tests, according to the Mayo Clinic. Skin tests involve placing a small number of proteins found in a particular shellfish under the skin, and then observing you for a reaction.

Blood tests are also used to detect shellfish allergies by measuring the levels of IgE antibodies in the blood. If the levels of IgE antibodies are high after being exposed to a particular shellfish protein, it indicates an allergic reaction to that shellfish.

When should I get tested for shellfish allergies?

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

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

What to expect with shellfish allergy testing

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

Getting tested for shellfish 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.

If you need help finding allergy testing locations you can use the healthcare provider directory on Solv’s website. Solv allows you to contact providers individually to learn more about their services and allows you to book a same-day or next-day appointment from its website.

Can I get an at-home test for shellfish 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, according to the Mayo Clinic. 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 it may be more appropriate to get tested in a healthcare setting, where you can discuss your potential treatment options with a healthcare provider, recommends the Mayo Clinic.

Cost of shellfish allergy testing

The cost of allergy testing—including shellfish 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.

Shellfish allergy tests are typically performed as comprehensive seafood allergy testing, and cost between $70 and $96 per test, according to FindLabTest.com. This range depends on the specific test and the laboratory performing the test.

Symptoms of shellfish allergies

The symptoms of a shellfish allergy 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 shellfish 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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Shellfish 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. This applies to shellfish, as well as other types of seafood.
There is no cure for shellfish 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 (including shellfish allergy) are:
  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Epinephrine
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots)
Allergic reactions to shellfish 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.

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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