Am I allergic to sardines?

An allergy to sardines is not uncommon since many individuals all over the globe suffer from seafood allergies. The indications of an allergic reaction to sardines tend to vary from one individual to another.

Sardines are typically canned due to their perishable nature but they can be consumed fresh. Once an individual starts to experience a severe reaction that results to swollen airways and throat, it is vital to seek immediate medical attention.

Health benefits of sardines

Sardines are known to provide a number of health benefits such as promoting cardiovascular health, bone health, weight control and prevention of diabetes, cancer and inflammatory diseases.

Sardines allergy

The symptoms of oral allergy syndrome such as itchy and swollen mouth, face, lips and throat can be evident within a few minutes up to a few hours of consuming the food.

It contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which reduce the level of triglyceride and cholesterol, risk for blood clots and heart attacks as well as the hardening of the arteries.

Sardines also contain vitamin B12 which regulates the level of homocysteine as well as reducing the risk for atherosclerosis. In addition, the increased vitamin D and phosphorus promotes bone health which prevents the development of osteoporosis.

What happens during an IgE reaction to sardines?

An allergic reaction to sardines might involve parvalbumin which is a protein present in all fish species. The protein is considered heat-stable, thus consuming cooked sardine will not minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.

A reaction can be instigated by ingesting sardines, inhalation of the vapors while cooking or being served or direct exposure via the skin and mucous membranes. The immune system perceives the protein as a threat and initiates an IgE-mediate response. As a result, the mast cells release histamine and other immune mediators which triggers the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Indications of an allergic reaction

Aside from the histamine released by the mast cells, sardines also contain large amounts of histamine. The histamine already present accumulates during the fermentation process, canning and as it decomposes.

The high concentration of histamine intensifies the symptoms and severity of a reaction. The symptoms of oral allergy syndrome such as itchy and swollen mouth, face, lips and throat can be evident within a few minutes up to a few hours of consuming the food. Other symptoms that can occur include the following:

  • Inflamed or itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Swollen airways
  • Chest tightness
  • Difficulty breathing

In severe cases, the individual can end up with anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening reaction. It is vital to seek immediate medical attention if the individual experiences diarrhea, nausea, heart palpitations, fainting and breathing difficulties.

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