Shellfish Allergy Test – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Shellfish Allergy

Shellfish Allergy Test
Shellfish Allergy Test

When you have a shellfish allergy, your immune system mistakenly identifies a certain protein in the shellfish as harmful and triggers the production of antibodies to the allergen or shellfish protein. Shellfish allergy can occur at any age, but it appears more often in adults than in children. Many people with shellfish allergies have it for life. It doesn’t go away over time. In the US, shellfish allergy is the most common food allergy among adults. According to FARE approximately 2% of the U.S. population reports an allergy to shellfish. Shellfish allergy test is the only way to tell if a reaction after eating shellfish is certainly a shellfish allergy.

This article covers all the significant topics related to the shellfish allergy test such as the test cost, causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention, and how to get tested for a shellfish allergy test.

  1. Shellfish allergy
  2. What causes shellfish allergy?
  3. Shellfish allergy symptoms
  4. Shellfish allergy test
  5. Treatment for shellfish allergy
  6. What shellfish should I avoid if I have an allergy?
  7. Prevention
  8. Provider locations

For our readers who are interested in knowing the shellfish allergy test cost beforehand, we begin with that section.

How much does the shellfish allergy test cost?

Shellfish allergy test costs range from $154 to $159 in different labs and facilities across the US. Prior appointment isn’t required. You can order tests online by comparing the price or visiting the nearest lab during lab business hours. You will get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days after completing the procedure. Apart from this, doctor consultation is available for any kind of further treatment or medical advice.

The table below shows the shellfish allergy test provider and their prices. You can know more and book the test by clicking on the “Book Now” button.

Shellfish allergy test cost with insurance

Many insurance companies in the U.S. cover all the vital tests like the shellfish allergy test. However, the coverage provided by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare varies widely. Most of the health insurance policies cover shellfish allergy test costs only once or twice a year and when your physician orders more than twice in a year, you should pay the test cost out of pocket. So, you are recommended to check if your health insurance policy covers the shellfish allergy test cost.

Our shellfish allergy testing providers do not accept any kind of health insurance policy. However, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details viz the name of the test, code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.

Shellfish allergy

Shellfish allergy is a kind of food allergy. When a person has a shellfish allergy, they experience unpleasant symptoms after eating shellfish. Major food allergies begin in childhood, but shellfish allergies may develop at any time during a person’s life. You can also develop a shellfish allergy even if you’ve had shellfish before without any problems.

It is important to note that intolerance causes uncomfortable symptoms. But an allergy can be life-threatening. The allergist can identify if you are allergic to shellfish or have an intolerance.

What causes shellfish allergy?

Any food allergy or a shellfish allergy, result from an immune system overreaction. If you have a shellfish allergy, your immune system mistakenly identifies a certain protein in the shellfish as harmful and triggers the production of antibodies to the allergen or shellfish protein.

So, when you come in contact with the allergen, the immune system releases histamine and other chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.

Shellfish allergy symptoms

Generally, allergic reactions to food occur soon after eating the food, within a few minutes to a few hours. The symptoms of shellfish allergy range from mild to severe and can affect different body parts including the skin, respiration, digestion, and heart.

The symptoms of a shellfish allergy may include:

  • Indigestion
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • A tight throat or a hoarse voice
  • Pale or blue discoloration of the skin
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

In the most serious cases, a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may occur. An anaphylactic reaction to shellfish requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:

  • A swollen throat or lump in the throat that makes it difficult for you to breathe
  • Extreme dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness
  • Shock or a severe drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
Shellfish Allergy Test and Symptoms of Shellfish Allergy
Shellfish Allergy Test and Symptoms of Shellfish Allergy

Shellfish allergy test

The shellfish allergy can be challenging to diagnose. And symptoms of shellfish allergy differ from person to person, and the same person can have different reactions after eating shellfish. And you may even react without even eating shellfish, for instance, if you are cooking it or shellfish contaminates your food. Your doctor will ask about your symptom history and may order a food allergy test to confirm a diagnosis. They may recommend both or one of the following tests:

  • Blood test – This test is also called an allergen-specific IgE antibody test or radioallergosorbent (RAST) test. It measures your immune system’s response to shellfish proteins by measuring the number of certain antibodies, known as immunoglobulin E or IgE antibodies.
  • Skin test – During this test, your skin is pricked and exposed to small amounts of the proteins found in shellfish. If you are allergic, a small itchy red spot will appear within a few minutes at the test site on your skin.

An allergy test is the only sure way to tell if a reaction after eating shellfish is certainly a shellfish allergy. And medically supervised food challenges can also be done if any uncertainty remains about the diagnosis.

Shellfish allergy treatment

A person can’t become un-allergic to shellfish. And currently, there is no cure for a shellfish allergy. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid shellfish. But despite your efforts, you may come into contact with shellfish. Though finned fish are not related to shellfish, cross-contamination is common. So, it is essential to avoid seafood altogether when your shellfish allergy is severe.

Doctors may treat a mild allergic reaction to shellfish with medications like antihistamines to reduce symptoms, like a rash and itchiness. And in case of a severe allergic reaction to shellfish (anaphylaxis), you will likely need an emergency injection of epinephrine (adrenaline). Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. Usually, doctors recommend people with shellfish allergies to carry epinephrine (EpiPen, Auvi-Q, or Adrenaclick) for self-administration in case you accidentally ingest any. However, if symptoms do not improve, it is important to seek immediate medical advice or go to the emergency room.

What shellfish should I avoid if I have an allergy?

The two kinds of shellfish are crustaceans & mollusks. Many people who are allergic to one type of shellfish are also allergic to the other type. And sometimes you may be able to eat some varieties. But doctors usually recommend avoiding all varieties to be safe. When you have a shellfish allergy, avoid eating these ingredients and foods:

  • Shrimp
  • Crab
  • Prawn
  • Crayfish
  • Lobster
  • Clams like cherrystone, littleneck, Pismo, and quahog
  • Mollusks
  • Mussels
  • Octopus
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Snails
  • Squid or calamari
  • Abalone
  • Cockle
  • Conch


When you have a shellfish allergy, the only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid all shellfish and products that contain shellfish. Because even trace amounts of shellfish can cause a severe reaction in a few people. Some tips for avoiding shellfish may include:

  • Be careful when dining out. Because shellfish-based broth or sauce may also trigger an allergic reaction. So, make sure to ask that the oil, pan, or utensils used for shellfish aren’t also used to prepare other foods. And stay away from steam tables and buffets.
  • Avoid shopping in a fish market and eating at a seafood restaurant. Because some people may also react after touching shellfish or inhaling steam from cooking shellfish.

Apart from this, make sure to read the food labels carefully. Be aware of foods that contain vague ingredients, like fish stock or seafood flavoring. Other foods items may also contain shellfish as well, so avoid eating them:

  • Imitation fish
  • Surimi
  • Bouillabaisse, cioppino, and other seafood stews
  • Cuttlefish ink
  • Glucosamine
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Caesar salads

Always carry your epinephrine pen. And consider wearing a medical bracelet or necklace containing your allergy information.

Provider locations

A shellfish allergy test can be done in any of the following locations by visiting the lab near you. To know the shellfish allergy test cost, refer to the first section of the article.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Frequently Asked Questions

Will insurance cover my testing cost?

No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you with a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.

How should I book my appointment?

You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.

Can I cancel my lab test order?

Yes, you can cancel your lab test order any time before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.

Do the providers offer result interpretations?

Yes, a few providers may provide doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.

How do I receive my report?

To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.

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Shellfish Allergy Test
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