Can shrimps cause skin rashes?

28 August 2015
Comments: 0
28 August 2015, Comments: 0

Once an individual ends up with skin rashes after consuming any dish that contains shrimp, he/she is likely experiencing a type of food allergy. Allergies to shellfish are one of the common food allergies that affect millions of individuals all over the world.

Always bear in mind that shellfish includes both mollusks and crustaceans such as oysters, clams, squid, abalone, crab, shrimp and lobster. Developing skin rashes is one of the initial indications of an allergic reaction and should not be ignored. Once an individual is suspected with an allergy to shrimp or other foods, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. The doctor will perform certain tests to confirm the allergy.

Close look on skin rashes from shrimp

Skin rashes

The response to shrimps usually varies where the minor symptoms include rashes and itchiness.

In general, any allergy to a certain food starts with an unusual immune reaction. Certain proteins present in shrimp are erroneously identified by the immune system as a threat. This initiates an immune response to release antibodies to attack the protein. Furthermore, the next encounter of the individual to the shrimp protein, the immune system releases histamine which is the substance responsible for the development of skin rashes along with other symptoms.

What are the signs and symptoms?

An allergic reaction can trigger skin rashes within minutes up to a few hours after eating any dish that contains shrimp. The response to shrimps usually varies where the minor symptoms include rashes and itchiness. As for cases of stronger reactions, the individual might end up with other indications including hives and inflammation of the lips, face, mouth and tongue.

If an individual is highly allergic, he/she will also start to wheeze and feel as if the throat is closing up which makes it difficult to swallow or breathe. Remember that this is a serious reaction that entails immediate medical care. In case the individual ends up with skin rashes right after eating shrimps, he/she must avoid it until confirmation of the allergy. Allergic reactions can progressively worsen after every exposure.

What happens during a severe reaction?

Shrimp and other food allergies has been the main cause of anaphylaxis which is a severe allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening, systemic reaction upon exposure to the allergen that results to widespread release of histamine. The symptoms develop quickly and include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Slurred speech
  • Severe wheezing
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fainting

Consequently, if this reaction is not promptly treated, anaphylaxis can lead to coma and even death. Remember that this is a medical emergency that requires emergency assistance.


Once an individual develops skin rashes after eating shrimp, he/she might have the allergy for life. In addition, it is vital to avoid any contact with shrimp or any products that include shrimp.

Always carefully read all the food labels that should indicate if they contain shellfish. When eating outside, ask the servers regarding the ingredients present in the dishes.

In most cases, use a medical alert bracelet that indicates that he/she is allergic to shrimp. Use antihistamines to calm the skin rashes and hives, but an injection of epinephrine is necessary in order to reverse a severe reaction. See a doctor for an injectable epinephrine in case of severe allergic reactions.


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