A medical ID is strongly recommended for individuals living with a shellfish allergy. In the US, shellfish allergies are the most common adult-onset food allergies, affecting more than 6.5 million adults. Symptoms of shellfish allergies include life-threatening anaphylaxis which requires immediate medical attention.
During anaphylaxis, a person’s throat will begin to swell, making it very difficult to breathe. This can lead to a severe drop in blood pressure and ultimately cause a person to go into shock. A medical ID can alert others of a shellfish allergy, and in the event of an allergic reaction, help them to quickly identify a shellfish allergy as the cause of these symptoms.
"Let people know (of shellfish allergy)...You should always carry your epinephrine pen and make sure it hasn’t expired. You or your child should wear a medical bracelet or necklace containing your allergy information." - Healthline
List of Shellfish to Avoid
Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding these ingredients and food if you have shellfish allergy.
Crawfish and crayfish
Shrimp and prawns
Having an allergy to one or multiple types of shellfish merits wearing a medical ID.
Severe symptoms of Shellfish Allergy
A medical ID can clearly identify these symptoms as allergic reactions to shellfish. Without some form of medical alert, symptoms can be misdiagnosed and cause significant delays in receiving emergency treatment.
Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
Tightness in throat, hoarse voice
Pale or blue coloring of the skin
Swelling, can affect the tongue and/or lips
Medical IDs and Shellfish Allergy in Emergencies
Allergic reactions to shellfish occur soon after consumption, typically within a few minutes to a few hours. Symptoms can affect different parts of the body and range from mild to life-threatening reactions that require emergency attention.
Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for severe allergic reactions to shellfish, including anaphylaxis. However, symptoms like swelling of the throat can make it difficult to communicate health information in case of an emergency. This is why a medical ID is important. It can effectively alert others of a shellfish allergy and prompt responders to give an epinephrine injection immediately.
A study shows that food-induced anaphylaxis causes approximately 30,000 emergency room visits and about 150 to 200 deaths each year in the U.S.
What to Engrave on a Shellfish Allergy Medical ID
Wearing a medical ID bracelet can save a life if it has the proper information on it. Here are the most important details to engrave if you have shellfish allergy:
Shellfish allergy – allergy can be abbreviated to ALGY on your medical ID. Example: ALGY: SHELLFISH or ALGYS: FISH, SHELLFISH
Other allergies and medical conditions that may or may not be related to shellfish allergy i.e. asthma, diabetes, or autism.
Epi-Pen information – alert others that epinephrine injection is needed in an emergency and where it can be found. This can be engraved as: give epipen, give epi, epi in bag or epi in purse for example.
Emergency Contact – especially if a child is wearing the medical ID, list parent’s emergency numbers or a prompt to call 911 immediately.
"If you have a shellfish allergy, talk with your doctor about carrying emergency epinephrine. Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace that lets others know you have a food allergy." - Mayo Clinic