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Scary Food Allergy Experience

Updated on October 7, 2015

Have you ever had a severe allergic reaction to eating food? After moving here to Hawaii we went to an all-you-an-eat seafood smorgasbord. My husband was raised in the Pacific, and he thought he had gone to heaven. I was raised in the mainland and raised eating mostly on beef and potatoes. I was not nearly as excited as my husband about the array of seafood.

It was an adventure in taste for me. I had eaten tuna fish, fish sticks and occasional clam chowder during my youth, but that was about it. I had a couple of food allergies when I was young, particularly strawberries and peanuts, but had since grown out of those food allergies.

So, was I up to the challenge of a seafood all you can eat? With the spread of sushi, mussels, lobster, octopus, jellyfish and other oceanic delights before me, I tried to look for something familiar, but could find nothing. My husband wasted no time in filling his plate with a variety of delicacies.

Finally I spotted some shrimp and decided that is where I would start. They had shrimp dipped in coconut and fried, garlic shrimp in butter, and a variety of shrimp salads. That was a taste fest for sure. Back for another plate, I saw people pass by with huge crabs and they looked like giant spiders to me. When I saw how they cracked the legs to get the meat out, I decided I would have to try something less intimidating. And then there were the eyes of the lobsters staring at me. Yikes!

I then saw some pink salmon in coconut milk. No eyes, no legs, looked safe. Yum, that also was excellent. I should probably stop there, but of course my husband was trying to tempt me with some of his favorite dishes. So I took a bite of raw fish that had been marinated in lime juice and mixed with tomatoes and onions. Not bad, although I wasn't too keen on the slimy texture.

My husband offered me something that tasted like hot dogs only crunchier. I asked what it was and he told me it was octopus. Definitely not my favorite. I did like the seaweed though. And caviar, I couldn't see what all the hype was about. It was just fish eggs.

Somewhere along the line, as I was being so brave and adventurous, I must have eaten something that my body thought was trying to attack me. I started itching on my face and then my arms, legs and tummy. I thought it would pass, but it just continued to get worse until I was quite alarmed. My throat and tongue started to swell. Welts started to develop on my limbs and trunk. I definitely had a food allergy, but not sure what it was from.

My husband noticed my discomfort, and although he hated to leave his royal feast, he realized he better get me some help or I might die in the seafood restaurant. Straight to the ER we went and they gave me a shot of adrenalin. It took a while, but the hives and swelling eventually subsided.

Since then, I have been to China and have eaten shark fin soup as well as sea cucumbers without incident. I have grown to love many of the sea foods that had originally scared me away, but I have as yet to find what it was that caused the strong allergic food reaction I had that fateful day. I was told that it may not have been what I ate, but what that particular sea animal had eaten that I was allergic to.


Submit a Comment

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Sorry about your wife and son. Food allergies are definitely not fun. I should go and test to see what I should not be eating. Probably would feel a lot better. Thanks for your comments John Reese.

  • profile image

    John Reese 

    6 years ago

    My wife was just tested for over 200 food allergies at once, they take her blood then drop some blood into viles of the allergens and then test for a reaction to it. We haven't received the results yet. My 3 y.o. has food allergies and they didn't do the blood test, they poked his back with dozens of small needles full of allergens and he quite a terrible experience from it as he was allergic to most of the things they tested. I trust the back shots results more than the blood test because with my son I could see the reaction right before my eyes, the shot spots that he was allergic to swelled up and the non-allergic ones didn't.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Great advise Valerie. Thanks for your comments.

  • Valerie F profile image

    Valerie F 

    7 years ago from Idaho Falls, ID

    Unfortunately, until better testing comes along, the most reliable way to discover a food allergy is to remove all suspected allergen foods, then gradually, one by one, reintroduce them and monitor your reactions. And definitely carry an Epipen or at least a few quick dissolve Benadryl tablets.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    You are so right about that oliversmum. But after you find out what foods you are allergic too, you are always aware of what you put in your mouth. Lucky are those that have no food allergies. Thanks for your comments.

  • oliversmum profile image


    8 years ago from australia

    Elayneoo1. Hi. Unfortunately until you eat certain foods, you do not realize that you have an allergy.

    You must have been extremely frightened.

    I have an extreme reaction to any kind of Shell Fish, it just makes me violently ill, and scares the dickins out of me.

    Thank you so much for sharing this very important information on Allergies with us. :) :)

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Silver Poet for reading my hub about food alergies. I hope I can help someone to avoid the experience. Aloha!

  • Silver Poet profile image

    Silver Poet 

    8 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

    Glad you're getting the word out about food allergies. Every such story can raise awareness.

  • LianaK profile image


    8 years ago

    Very interesting. I have a similar reaction when I eat too much shrimp. I can eat a little, but then the back of my tongue starts to itch and gets a little swollen. I know that it is then time to stop :). Thanks for the great hub.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I appreciate your comments akirchner. Could have been crab because I did have a bit of crab meat. Don't think it was shrimp because I have eaten quite a bit since then. Hard to say. I did have a reaction to some anesthesia when I went in the hospital for a colonoscopy once. Big hives then too, so I don't know if they are related. Interesting though. Thanks.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    8 years ago from Washington

    Usually it is the shrimp - most definitely - and if you have a shrimp allergy, make sure you tell any medical professionals because you will have a reaction to intravenous dye possibly. I actually had a reaction to crab but NOT to shrimp at all and finally figured out it may have just been 'bad' crab - though testing it out again kind of scares you after you have ANY reaction sorry to say.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Granny's House. Probably the most dangerous thing to our health is the all-you-can eat anything-goes meal. That is when we are living to eat rather than eating to live, if you know what I mean.

  • Granny's House profile image

    Granny's House 

    8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

    I enjoyed this hub. It was well written. I have seen my husband eat crab till I thought he would bust and I have seen him eat them and have a bad reaction from them.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    It is hard to pinpoint what caused the reaction. It hasn't happened again although I have eaten shrimp and some other seafood. Thanks for your comments Pamela99

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    That sounds like a very scary experience. Any shellfish have a higher possibility of an allergic reaction. It could have been almost anything you ate and it all sounded so wonderful! Good hub.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Mahalo (thanks) for all the comments. I actually do enjoy foods from many countries now, but there are certain foods I do stay away from because they have made me sick in the past. Actually the doctor told me to stay away from shrimp because it is high in cholesterol and mine is a bit high. Allergies are no laughing matter. Aloha!

  • katiem2 profile image


    8 years ago from I'm outta here

    Now that is scary, I know My Mom is still asking me, "does that have nuts in it"? Before I eat anything and I'm all grown up with kids of my own. FACT is allergies are something we should all be considerate of! Great Hub and Thanks! Peace :)

  • Cari Jean profile image

    Cari Jean 

    8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

    I have never had an allergic reaction to anything, thank goodness as it seems to be a very scary thing. I commend you though for being so brave to try new foods. My husband loves Chinese food and I find some of it to be too slimy or too weird of a texture or smell so then I won't even try it.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    Gosh, that must have been scary. Thank you for sharing you experiences.

  • breakfastpop profile image


    8 years ago

    I bet it was the shrimp. Stay away from it then, because there are much more dangerous reactions than the one you experienced.


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