People with a shellfish allergy react when they eat clams, oysters, shrimp, lobsters, and crayfish. The only way to prevent the reaction is to avoid contact with shellfish. However, most people with food allergies will accidentally come in contact with their allergen at some point.
If you have a mild allergic reaction, it may be treated with over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines to reduce skin rashes or itchiness. These can control the reaction and relieve discomfort. Your doctor may also prescribe an inhaler to be used if you experience asthmatic symptoms as a result of coming into contact with shellfish. However, these medications alone are not enough to treat a more serious allergic reaction.
Severe allergic reactions should be treated with an emergency injection of epinephrine. Most people who know that they have a serious food allergy carry an epinephrine auto-injector, such as an EpiPen or EpiPen Jr., with them at all times. Administer an injection of epinephrine into your thigh if you have been exposed to shellfish and experience difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, a swollen throat, or dizziness. These are signs of anaphylaxis, a potentially lethal allergic reaction.
This treatment will stop the reaction and allow time to seek emergency medical attention. After using the Epi-Pen, it is still important to seek emergency medical treatment, which may include injections of other medications to reverse or treat the reaction. Although using the Epi-Pen may be enough to relieve discomfort, it should not be relied upon as the only treatment if you have experienced a severe reaction to shellfish.