Food Allergies And Fish Sticks

Question of the Week

Fish fingers in a frying pan
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Does this grandmother's situation sound similar to your own?

My 3 yr old granddaughter has eaten fish sticks two times in the last 3 weeks. She has experienced projectile vomiting 3 hours after each of the meals. Does this sound like allergies or simply upset stomach? Mary, Ft Lauderdale, Florida

A. While this could just be a coincidence or a food intolerance, it could also be a sign of a food allergy.

Things that go against it being a true food allergy include that it happened 3 hours after she eat the fish sticks, while according to The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, 'symptoms typically appear within minutes to two hours after the person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic.'

You also don't mention other typical food allergy symptoms, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of a child's throat or tongue.

A food allergy might be more likely if she or other family members have food allergies or other conditions that are associated with food allergies, such as eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis.

And keep in mind that fish is one of the more common causes of food allergies. Other common allergy foods that people can be allergic to include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat.

If you think it is a food allergy, you could either avoid fish or talk to your pediatrician about doing a food allergy test.

The Immunocap RAST test is a simple blood test that your doctor can order for your granddaughter to see if she is allergic to fish. Or you could see an allergist for skin prick testing.

You can likely try fish again if you don't think that it is a true food allergy, but you should talk to your pediatrician first before doing this kind of 'challenge' test, just in case she does have another reaction.

Also remember that younger children shouldn't eat more than 2 servings of fish sticks because of the risk that it is contaminated with mercury. You can review the latest guidelines on fish and mercury in our article on the latest fish and mercury warning.

Books about Food Allergies

  • The Parent's Guide to Food Allergies
  • Feeding Your Allergic Child
  • How to Manage Your Child's Life-Threatening Food Allergies