Allergic to anchovies?

Patient

Q: Hello, I think I may have an allergic reaction to anchovies. I have eaten them, many years ago and do not remember a reaction, and regularly eat fish and seafood on a regular basis. But last night I made a pasta sauce with anchovies and noticed my tongue swelled up. I ate it again today for lunch and it swelled worse and I have an odd feeling in my throat. Could it be an allergy, and could I only be allergic to anchovies? Nothign else I put in the meal was out of the ordinary for me.

Doctor

A:   Seafood allergies are the most common food allergies. Anchovies are a histamine-rich food that can trigger an allergic response such as allergic asthma. They can also cause flushed skin, rash, swelling of the lips and nasal passages, sweating, pallor, nausea, abdominal cramps, rapid pulse, confusion, wheezing, convulsions, lightheadedness and fainting. Seafood allergies last throughout people's lives, unlike most food allergies that children grow out of. Women are more likely to be afflicted with fish allergies than men, and it is not uncommon for the onset of fish allergies to happen in adulthood. I would suggest you to be careful about everything you eat, especially if you are allergic to anchovies and other ingredients that may be a hidden in different foods. Reading labels can be life saving.

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