Allergic to Bloodworms?!?!
So every couple of weeks my eyes would burn/itch swell shut and my hands would get super itchy to the point where I almost bled from scratching. I had no idea what was causing it until last night when I plopped a frozen cube of bloodworms into my aquarium from my hands. Within minutes I was in a hot shower trying to stop the burning on my hands and eyes.
Anyone allergic to bloodworms? I've never been allergic to anyhting but cats!
I'm not allergic to them but I've heard that if you are allergic to mosquitoes that you need to be careful about handling bloodworms. You might want to wear gloves when handling them.
There should be a warning on the package, i read somewhere that even if youre not allergic you can become allergic from handling them too much.
An allergy to bloodworms is more common than some may realize. Hikari now has a warning on the label of their frozen bloodworms about allergic reaction, so presumably there are several out there with this problem.
I happen to have it, and I've known fish store employees who do. If I so much as smell the fumes from the thawed bloodworms, my eyes water and itch and I can go into sneezing fits. I try not to touch them, but if I do I get similar reaction plus itchy rash where I touched them. I also have the same reactions with the freeze-dried bloodworms.
I feed the frozen 3-4 times a week because I have some wild-caught fish that will eat no other prepared food. I try to be careful, and if I can manage to avoid inhaling the fumes I'm usually OK.
DQ, interesting point about the relation to mosquitoes--what exactly is an allergy to mosquitoes like? If I'm bitten, I get an itchy bump but nothing more. I assumed this was common--is there more to an actual allergy?
Wow, great post. I feed my fish freeze dried bloodworms every once in a while, and I noticed everytime I do I get an allergic reaction. I don't touch them. I put the amount I want to feed into the lid of the container then into the tank. However, just from inhaling it I go into a sneezing fit, get all stuffed up, and get watery eyes. It's to the point where I rarely ever feed them the bloodworms anymore because I don't want to deal with the allergy attack.
Best to do I could think of: take lil 1/4 measuring cup, add tank water, pop a cube from the freezer pack right into the cup, let it thaw out in there and dump into the tank. Frozen foods shouldn't be handed frozen, so that for one would help the fish and doing it this way you have no contact with the stuff on your hands, so hopefully that'll keep ya from breaking out.
I thought it was like some people being highly allergic to bee stings. I think some people who are allergic to bee stings can go into anaphylactic (sp?) shock. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.
I've discussed this topic back in 2007 here I think and from time to time across other forums whenever I encounter them. I was also allergic before with bloodworms but it gradually disappeared.
I suffered mild allergic reaction myself when I first handled bloodworms with itchy red hands, neck and chest. Most people suffer anaphalaxis from handling bloodworms alone. Be very careful and check yourself first before you handle anything you've never handled before. Most allergic reactions are quite fatal and can kill you.
As far as the theory of what is causing such reaction, it is still debated around. One theory involves the hemoglobin of the insect larva which can cause your skin to react if it never had initiated a reaction to it before. You don't have to eat or lick the bloodworms to get allergy. A slight touch can cause allergic reactions if your skin is really sensitive to allergens. There is one substance in bloodworms I cannot recall clearly that was found to cause this reaction especially if your skin never encountered that foreign agent before.
It's just something to bear in mind. Be careful what you are handling. If unsure, use gloves before handling an object that you suspect may cause allergic reactions.
Sounds pretty serious. Maybe fishkeepers who know themselves to have a bloodworm allergy should look into getting something like an epinephrine pen? I know doctors will give you one if you've got a beesting allergy, for example, so I think something like this would be really good to have on hand.
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