Fish Allergy testing

Patient

Q: My daughter was diagnosed with a fish allergy many years ago. Aside from cod, haddock, and pollock, we don't know what other fish are included. We know salmon and tuna are safe, and she is not allergice to shellfish, but our doctor has never answered our question about other fish to avoid, or safe fish to include in her diet. She has other food allergies, and we have had a few close clls, i.e. anaphylactic reactions at the dinner table, so we don't want to make any mistakes. But she's a teenager now, and we'd like to allow her to try other safe foods. Thank you.

Doctor

A:   If your child has been diagnosed with a severe allergy to fish or shellfish, she will have the allergy for life. These allergies are frequently severe so your concern is warranted.
Previously, when we tested for fish, the allergic prick test contained a combination of all fish.  We know now that an allergy to one fish does not imply an allergy to all fish.  Since then, some centers are able to offer testing where a skin prick test is done for all commonly eaten fish.  This will allow you to distinguish if the allergy is to specific fishes or all fishes.
I suggest you seek a center that offers such testing.
Furthermore, should your child have fish allergies, be careful eating fried foods in a restaurant. The oil used to for cooking may be from fish sources.  If your child is allergic to fish, make sure the surface is completely cleaned before your child’s meal is prepared to decrease the chance of cross-contamination, or don’t eat there at all.

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