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Medical Myths: Shrimp and Iodine Allergies Aren’t Always Linked

JACKSON, Miss– Shrimp allergies and iodine allergies aren’t always linked. News Mississippi met with an allergist to discuss the myth. 

Imagine your child eating shrimp for the first time. At first all is well, but then you notice his lips swelling, a rash forming and his breathing is getting labored. You rush him to the ER and the doctor indicates shrimp as the allergy. You may be told that your child is allergic to shrimp, so that means he’s allergic to iodine as well.

Allergist Dr. Daniel Vanarske says that’s a myth.

“Most people who are allergic to shellfish can have contrast testing by a radiologist,” Dr. Vanarske says, “they need to speak with their allergist for proper testing, but what is in the shellfish protein is not the same as the iodine used in radiology.”

The contrast testing Dr. Vanarske refers to checks veins and organs for problems by injecting a serum into the body that contains iodine, so the problem may be traced under a light or scan.

But the allergy myth goes both ways. If you’ve been told you’re allergic to iodine, you’re more than likely going to be fine eating shellfish.

“The myth comes from the iodine in medicine and iodide found in shellfish, says Dr. Daniel Vanarske,” they are not one and the same.”

Dr. Vanarske recommends that you always check with an allergist first, and seek proper allergy testing to calm your mind.

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