Researchers from a public hospital found in a city-wide survey that shellfish is the top food allergen among Chinese children in Hong Kong.
Dr Marco Ho Hok-kung, one of the researchers from the Queen Mary Hospital that conducted the survey, said one way for parents to reduce the risk of their children developing this allergy is to cook all seafood more thoroughly.
The survey over 7,393 children aged 14 and under in 2005 to 2006 found that 1.8 per cent of them say they are allergic to shellfish, particularly crabs and lobsters.
The level is higher than the international average rate of 1.2 per cent, according to the study report completed last year.
Sometimes it was difficult to tell whether the problem was caused by food poisoning, that is bad seafood, or an allergic reaction affecting the digestive system, Ho said.
One way to answer this was to look for any skin reaction, such as rashes, as 90 per cent of allergies affect the skin, he said.