Talking Allergies

Fish as a pet?
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Author:  Julie [ Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Fish as a pet?

Okay, I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this one, but I still need to ask to be sure. If you have a food allergy to fish, can you keep fish as a pet? Does fish food contain fish?

Author:  Daisy [ Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Pet fish


It depends on the severity of your allergy. Do you have contact allergy, or just from ingesting fish? Can you be around fish at an aquarium?

Sometimes the type of fish matters, as well. We were wanting a salt tank (had one years ago), but since my seafood allergy has turned inhalant-sensitive, I'm glad we didn't get one. I saw a journal article about a man who was reacting to some of his fish food...he had a contact dermatitis from handling the food. And I saw on another website that someone's child stuck their hand in one of the children's "touch tanks" at an aquarium and developed hives immediately. (This would be me!)

It just depends on your level of sensitivity, the type of tank, and whom would be doing the cleaning.

Best of luck,

Author:  Julie [ Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Daisy, My 4 yr old son is the one with the fish allergy. My kids would really love a fish tank (well, my 6 yr old daughter realy wants a dog or cat or some other furry animal, but my son's allergist has said she does not think this is a good idea, so my daughter would settle for fish). Anyway, at first I thought this would be fine, and then I thought, MY SON HAS AN ALLERGY TO FISH!!! What am I thinking? His allergy is not inhalant (at least not yet), but I would be concerned that it could turn to that with increased exposure to fish (ie a fish tank in the home). Opinions??

Author:  Mylène [ Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

let's just say that everything around the fish tank would need to be well controlled for splashes of water and other things like that so that nothing that touches the fishs touches anything else around... if you kids puts his hands on the tank while eating a cookie with his hands, that's plain and simple cross-contamination... I would at least only have an adult handle anything about the fishes!

My own opinion... many kids have lived happy lives without pets... why risk it for a gold fish? :?


Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:18 pm ]
Post subject: 

My husband is allergic to fish and food does contain fish (at least all that I have ever seen). You would hate for your child to accidently eat some one day. Kids tend to do that type of thing.

As far as pets go, have you looked into any strange critters like hedge hogs, birds, turtle, pot belly pig? Personally I refuse to have any pets. Been there, done that, don't need the added stress of the pets hygene and the responsibility of finding a "babysitter" if we go anywhere.

I've heard they make cool "virtual pets" that you can take the batteries out of if you need a break. :wink:

Author:  Julie [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:59 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for your comments! Okay, my decision is made - sounds like it's really not a good idea. And, yes, the "virtual pet" works well for my daughter - she has a "Tomagochi" (spelling?), so that will have to do.

Here's another silly question (hopefully we all think there's no such thing as a silly question!):

If you have a fish allergy, can you go fishing? of course there would have to be huge precautions, but I'm just wondering...

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

I would compare it to sending a nut allergic child into a forest with nut producing trees to gather nuts. Or sending an egg allergic child to a farm to gather eggs...or a milk allergic child to milk a cow. My husband personally would probably not react to touching the fish, the hooks the nets and the boat where the fish flopped around, but I would not want to attempt a fishing trip with him. I would be concerned with the hook scratching or poking him and creating an "entrance" into the blood stream for any traces of fish. Or a child who handled anything placing this fingers in his mouth.

Personally I was freaked out when my husband and I snorkeled in cancun last year. I do not plan on attempting that ever again. Their was sharp coral and stuff around that could create an entrance into the blood stream.

Author:  Daisy [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Pets


Another idea?

What age is the allergic child? Is the allergy severe? Is it just a fish allergy, or also shellfish?

Hermit crabs are really popular here. They are fun to watch and pretty easy to keep. They are also vegetarians. If you have a shellfish allergy that is not severe, they should be ok.

I am inhalant-sensitive to cooked shellfish, such as in a restaurant or when the grocery is steaming shrimp (I steer completely clear of that section!) But I have never reacted a the pet store when watching the hermit crabs in their little habitats.

It's not really an animal you would pick up, and they stay in their cage. It's really fun to watch them choose a new shell. They even climb the little plastic palm trees!

Hope this helps,

PS to Saskmommy2:
Is your hubby very sensitive to shellfish? We are going to a family reunion on the coast in July and I'm very allergic to shellfish. I will of course be avoiding most restaurants, but I am worried about being on the beach, walking in along the shore, picking up seashells...Haven't even been brave enough to go to our huge new Georgia Aquarium. (I saw a special on TV last months..."Behind the Scenes" and nearly had a panic attack when I saw how much fish they were preparing for all their occupants!!!) Yikes!

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

He is allergic to all fish and shellfish. He isn't overly sensitive to touching any of his allergens. He does not get hives from touching the food he is allergic to he *only* has trouble breathing if he eats it. So sea shells and the beach did not bother him, but he is not sensitive to casual contact. I was mainly concerned with what would happen in the event that he cut himself while in contact with his allergens. As a child of about 12-18, his mom worked a lot and he cooked for himself and his younger brothers, and always cooked eggs and fish sticks for his brothers (because the boys liked them and his mom told him to make them ), which he is allergic too and had numerous anaphylactic reactions to as a child. Talk about dangerous, doing that with no adult home and no epipen, he is just lucky he never cut himself. Truly a miracle that he survived his childhood!

Hermit crabs would be cool if he ws not allergic.

I am also thinking that an ant farm might be cool...and they would probably just eat left over fruit peels and stuff you have around the house (I'm not sure what they eat I'm just guessing). You can buy cool ant farm kits with see through clear glass with dirt in between that the ants tunnel and make a little town out of. Maybe some day I'll give in to my kids wanting a pet, and go for an ant farm.

Author:  Helen [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

I can relate to *really* *really* wanting to have a pet but not being able to because of allergies. Since I couldn't have a pet (aside from goldfish), I caught my own critters. I'd suggest raising monarch caterpillars. You can catch them in the summer (July I think) on milkweed plants. The caterpillars are easy to spot--they have yellow, black, and white stripes. TMonarch caterpillars *only* eat milkweed leaves so it is good to store some in the fridge. The chrysalises are beautiful---jade green with spots of gold and one black, yellow, and white stripe. A day or two before the monarchs emerge, the chrysalises turn clear and you can see the butterfly inside. The butterflies are very vulnerable right after they emerge--their bodies are full of fluids and swollen and their wings are very small. They can't fly until their body fluids are pumped into their wings and their wings dry out.

On second thought, milkweed leaves are poisonous to other insects---they might even be slightly poisonous to us--so this might not be an appropriate pet for a very young child.

Author:  Daisy [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Great Idea


Great idea about the butterflies! We actually bought a kit. It comes with a net "cage" and you send a card in when Spring arrives. They send a small container with the caterpillars (ours were the Painted Lady type) and a culture medium for their food. When they turn into the chrysallis stage, you can remove a portion of the lid and place in the net "cage." We released them to the appropriate plant in our garden. You can re-order as needed. Great educational tool, as well.

What great suggestions! It's always fun to read other's ideas. Good source of info.


Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:59 pm ]
Post subject: 

Cool Lisa! I really like the butterflies idea...that is even cool for a girl who may not be keen on a bug or a reptile.

As a child my brother and I would heep a garter snake for a pet. It ate live we went hunting for frogs on a regular basis to feed the thing...gross, and if we could not catch any i think we gave it raw liver. We let it go before winter, and got a new one in the spring. We did this a few years until the "incident". The snake got loose in the house, and was lost in the basement for a few days. My mom freaked out :shock:. We caught it eventually, and that was the last time we were allowed to have a snake.

Author:  mommywithplenty [ Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:49 am ]
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I have a fish tank and up until a few months ago my tank was o.k. The food I was feeding my fish had shrip in it. Almost all fish food contain seafood/fishmeal.(fighting fish food is really bad for this!) I found a gold fish food without seafood/fish in it. When these fish die we are not getting anymore. My reactions have gotten way to bad to risk it. Lizards on the other hand can be really good pets and some don't cost too much.

Author:  Julie [ Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for your input mommywithplenty. We've decided not to have fish as a pet in our home, but my son's classroom at school has a fish tank. We've cautioned our son and his teachers that he should not touch the tank, sit near the tank, or feed the fish. My son LOVES to look at fish... he is absolutely fascinated by them, so we will go to visit the fish at the zoo or occasionally at a pet store, but we always tell him not to touch the tank. He's getting very good at keeping his hands in his pockets :D

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