Skip to main content

Title Image
Can I swim in the ocean if I have a shellfish allergy?

Yes, you can swim in the ocean if you have a shellfish allergy. It will not typically cause an allergic reaction. This is because the dilution factor of relevant allergens is so significant. This means that the amount of shellfish allergens in the ocean water is very low.

Also, walking on the beach has little risk. Wash your hands before eating if you have come in contact with shellfish at the seashore or in the ocean.

Typical exposure routes include eating shellfish or breathing the vapors from cooking. These can cause an allergic reaction in people with shellfish allergy. Allergic reactions after exposure on the skin or surface of the body (topical) can happen. Usually, they are very mild and found on the exposed skin.

Food Allergy, Shellfish Allergy
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

Reviewed and Answered

Add Comment

Comments (1)

Newest · Oldest · Popular
The caveat is for those like myself who are contact allergic and sensitive to cross contamination. I also have dermatographic skin and a strong family history of allergies and asthma, but my asthma is thankfully just mild exercised induced. Most of my reactions are a combination of flat rashes, hives, and behavioral. I think precautions should be noted since kids tend to swallow ocean water and the concentration of shellfish in ocean water and shells in the sand is significant.
Link copied to your clipboard.