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Why do doctors often ask if I'm allergic to shellfish?

Deborah Davis
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Shellfish allergy is one of the most common food allergies.  If you have a shellfish allergy, you may have an allergic reaction to only certain kinds of shellfish, or you may have an allergy to all shellfish.  Shellfish include marine animals with shells, such as clams, lobster and shrimp, as wel as octopus and squid.  Shellfish allergy can cause mild symptoms such as hives or nasal congestion, or more-severe and even life-threatening symptom.  For some people, even a tiny amount of shellfish can cause a serious reaction.  Doctors often ask about shellfish allergies as they can be life-threatening in those persons with severe allergic reactions.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
People allergic to shellfish are also allergic to some dyes used in medical testing. The harmful ingredient: the iodine found in both. That's why doctors often ask this question on screening questionnaires.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.