Many individuals all over the world are highly sensitive to seafood which can include shellfish and other types of fish such as tuna. An allergy to seafood is considered lifelong and if an individual has tuna allergy, he/she can also have allergies to other fishes. It is important to note that an allergic reaction can manifest when eating, handling or processing raw tuna or even inhaling vapors while tuna is being cooked. The signs and symptoms of tuna allergy can range from mild to life-threatening. With this in mind, it is important that you know how to identify these symptoms.
Hives and swelling
When an individual has tuna allergy, it can trigger the manifestation of red-colored, itchy, swollen welts called as hives or urticaria. Remember that hives can occur within minutes of consuming or handling tuna and can last for 2-4 hours.
The swelling around the lips and eyes can also develop. In such cases, over-the-counter antihistamines are used to manage the localized hives and swelling. If the tongue or throat becomes swollen and blocks the airways, it is vital to seek immediate medical attention to prevent the symptoms from worsening.
If an individual is highly sensitive to tuna, he/she can experience signs and symptoms related to asthma such as coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness.
Inhaling the cooking fumes or tuna odor as well as handling tuna in fish processing plants can trigger asthma. The symptoms of allergic asthma typically manifest within minutes up to 2 hours after exposure. A delayed asthmatic response to the fish can occur within 3-8 hours after the individual was exposed to the fish.
Recurrent, projectile-like vomiting along with swelling of the tongue or mouth simply indicates an allergy if it occurs right after consumption of tuna. Other digestive symptoms include diarrhea, severe abdominal pain and difficulty swallowing.
Vomiting and diarrhea is how the body eliminates the offending food and a reaction might develop within minutes and persist up to two hours after consuming tuna.
If an individual is allergic to tuna, he/she can experience anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening allergic reaction that affects the whole body. This severe reaction can cause difficulty breathing and swelling of the lips, tongue, throat or joints.
Remember that anaphylaxis develops at a rapid pace and can recur a few hours after the symptoms subside. It is a potentially deadly reaction which requires immediate emergency care even if the individual starts to feel better. Individuals who are high risk for severe reactions are usually prescribed with an epinephrine auto-injector that must be on hand at all times. Once a shot of epinephrine is given, the individual should be taken to hospital for further care.