ZocdocAnswersWhy do my eyes get red and puffy every time I eat shellfish?

Question

Why do my eyes get red and puffy every time I eat shellfish?

I'm a 45 year old male. For the past 6 months, every time I eat crab, or shrimp or any other shellfish, my eyes get red and puffy. I have eaten shellfish almost every day for a very long time. Do you think I might be allergic to shellfish, is there some other explanation for this condition?

Answer

It is not uncommon to develop mild allergies to foods as an adult, even if you may have enjoyed these same foods for your entire life. It is unclear what causes people to develop late onset of allergies to certain foods but fro the description you provided, there is a high likelihood that this is the case. Shellfish allergies are a very common allergy, and in some people, this allergy can be so severe that they can develop respiratory failure and die from exposure. Fortunately, it sounds as if you are having very mild symptoms from what is likely to be a shellfish allergy. Of course, your allergy may worsen, and so it is very important that you be evaluated by an immunologist because your allergy may progress and they can teach you the proper management techniques if you develop an allergic reaction. This may include the use of an epipen (portable injectable device that carries epinephrine to be injected if you have a severe allergic reaction -- this can be a life saving device). For mild allergies, a small amount of benadryl can be very helpful in alleviating the symptoms associated with the allergy, such as red and puffy eyes.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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