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What are the Effects of an Iodine Allergy?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

An iodine allergy would be an immediate response to iodine on the skin or iodine injected in a contrast dye to take better X-rays. In general such exposure would cause immediate anaphylactic shock in those who are allergic. A patient might show very labored breathing and the tongue or throat might swell. Treatment is an injection with epinephrine to stop the histamine reaction.

An actual iodine allergy is extraordinarily rare. Some show signs of sensitivity to iodine with nausea, flushing, fever, or some labored breathing. In most cases, this sensitivity, particularly to injected iodine is labeled iodine allergy. This however, is something of a misnomer. Very few are actually allergic to iodine.

One of the reasons people feel they may have an iodine allergy is if they are allergic to shellfish or simply fish. Both shellfish and other fishes are a rich source of iodine, but often those allergic are not responding to the iodine in the fish.

People who have a shellfish allergy have an increased risk of being allergic to iodine.
People who have a shellfish allergy have an increased risk of being allergic to iodine.

However, if one has a shellfish allergy, or any allergy for that matter, there is a slightly increased risk of “iodine allergy.” As compared to the person without an allergy to shellfish, people allergic to shellfish may show about a five percent greater chance of showing “iodine allergy” symptoms. However similar studies show that having any allergies increases the chance of being sensitive to iodine.

Allergies may manifest as skin rashes.
Allergies may manifest as skin rashes.

There are a few instances where iodine should not be injected. Iodine must be flushed out of the kidneys. Where a person’s kidney function is significantly impaired, it may be difficult for the body to eliminate the iodine. Such people may show a reaction to the continued presence of iodine in their bodies, which is sometimes also labeled as “iodine allergy.” When kidney function is impaired, kidney function tests are required to be certain injecting iodine will not cause difficulty for the patient.

Iodine is important to thyroid health, and allergic reactions to it are very rare.
Iodine is important to thyroid health, and allergic reactions to it are very rare.

Iodine becomes synthesized in the body as iodide, and many who show “iodine allergy” show absolutely no reaction to iodide. This is good news as many topical antibiotic creams contain iodide. When an allergy is noted, this again is sensitivity rather than true allergic reaction. Usually patients will note a skin rash on areas where iodide is applied.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


My friend went in for surgery on her wrist, answered all questions, and in questionnaire stated that she was allergic to Iodine. She is in so much pain due to the people preparing or after surgery, using Iodine. I cant believe they did this after all the questions they asked to ensure that this did not happen. Her skin peeled off they put cast on she had to go back to ER get the cast off because she said it felt like it exploded. Now they have it wrapped in gauze. This sounds wrong. It is all moist fluid building. Does this sound right?


I learned of my iodine allergy while having a CT scan in 1977. I stay away from iodine as much as possible. I do not buy iodized salt to be used in my recipes. If I take a multivitamin with minerals I have a severe reaction. I found a protein shake powder that does NOT contain iodine. It is NRG, made by Naturade. I bought it at Sprouts.

All of the premixed protein drinks contain iodine these days. Boost and Ensure as well as the store brands. In my case the iodine builds up until I start begin itching. If I have it injected I go into anaphylactic shock‎.

If I eat too much saltwater fish, I have a mild reaction. A salty meal causes a mild reaction. By mild, I mean no trip to the ER, just take Benadryl in large amounts at home. When I was 8 years old my Mom took me to a seafood place. After eating stuffed crab I became violently ill and vomited at the table. It happened so fast.

I can eat shrimp. It never bothered me.

Since I had the reaction with the contrast dye. I always tell the docs and technicians about my allergy to iodine. My tests are always ordered with no contrast.

Allergic reactions to anything can be fatal and should always be taken seriously.


This is great.The medical professionals don't have the faintest idea what causes all today's diseases, but they argue that whatever people experience should not be called an allergy.

To those medical professionals, I have a question. Do you have any idea how many people cannot take ferrous sulfate, an iron? The same number as the ones who are allergic to iodine. I suggest you ask for your money back before you comment. It's the same as allergy to latex. A contact allergy to a substance that gets inside your body and masquerades as the real thing.


I landed on this page while trying to figure out why I had a reaction today to Betadine. I was born with urinary reflux and had to have many IVPs (intravenous pyelograms) throughout my childhood. Early on, I had a strong reaction when they injected the contrast medium. I had instant, non-stop sneezing, burning swollen eyes, swollen tongue and throat leading to difficulty breathing. At that point they labeled it an "allergy" and started to pre-treat me. I believe it was with antihistamines but I'm honestly not positive.

A few years after the first reaction, my scheduled test, normally performed by my urologist, was carried out by two interns instead because my doctor was called away for emergency surgery. They did not pre-treat me and my questioning was dismissed as a confused child. Right after injecting the contrast medium it happened all over again: sneezing, burning eyes, swollen face/tongue, etc. They injected something and it did nothing. It continued to progress and my throat started to close. At that point they rolled me over and slammed an injection of something (steroids, epinephrine? I don't really know) into my behind and my breathing slowly returned to normal.

Over the years, I've told each doctor or hospital health care provider that I "react strongly" to the dye that was used on those procedures in the 60's, 70's, early 80's. Every single time I end up with the extra wrist band with allergy: IVP DYE. Not my words, but theirs. If it is more of a sensitivity and not an allergy, then I assume they label it that because it immediately gets people's attention and perhaps the words "sensitivity" or "reaction" don't consistently garner the same level of caution and care. I don't care what they call it as long as they pre-treat me or use something else.

I was never given any warnings about other cross sensitivities. I eat seafood, occasional shellfish, and I have had things like Betadine used on me repeatedly without a problem until today.

Before starting my procedure, there was much debate among my doctor, the anesthesiologist, and the two nurses. They weren't sure whether it was wise to use the Betadine. Since I had no memory of ever reacting to it they decided to go ahead as the doctor felt it was the most effective choice.

As I was coming out of the general anesthesia, I woke up sneezing my head off. My eyes were burning and swollen, and my face was swelling but not alarmingly. I was given two Benadryl and told to call if things worsened.

The sneezing continued, I developed a headache, and I took two more Benadryl (as instructed) when it was time. My facial swelling and the eye burning slowly improved, but they're still irritated and itchy and I am still sneezing 14 hours later and my throat hurts -- kind of like someone punched me in the neck. On top of that, I'm one of those oddballs who doesn't get sleepy using antihistamines. Instead they make me feel "hyper" for lack of a better word.

Despite general anesthesia, two meclizine at the hospital, four Benadryl, and a prescription for insomnia, I am still wide awake at 2 a.m.

They had a lot of difficulty getting my IV line in. They tried over 10 times on one hand and wrist without success until they switched to the right. The left was a mess so they cleaned it with Betadine and bandaged the whole thing because I was still having quite a bit of breakthrough bleeding despite the pressure bandage attempts on individual sites. After removing those tonight, I now see that I also have two itchy, swollen, red steaks on my left hand next to the injection site they tried the most. I am also experiencing itching and discomfort in the southern area of my performed procedure.

Based on my childhood reactions to IVP dye, is this Betadine reaction related or not? Do I now need to be cautious and claim a Betadine sensitivity despite it being considered the best choice? If it is a reaction to a binding molecule, as some have posted, is that why the sudden reaction to the Betadine -- perhaps just a different formulation that what has been previously used on me? Also, if it's not iodine itself, how do I know whether a future contrast dye or site prep solution will cause a reaction or not? Are there safe options or are my only choices to avoid them or opt to pre-treat before any of them are used?

I have a brain MRI (with and without contrast) and a uterine ablation coming up, so I will be facing these situations again soon.

I realize this has become a heated debate and people are sensitive to being told they don't have a technical allergy to something that threatened their well being and even their very life. I think some of the professionals could make more of an effort to explain without criticizing or condescending. Many of the posts are using the word allergy because that is the word their doctors and other health care workers are using.

I would hope the healthcare industry would try to come to a conclusion about approach, identifying the problem, effective treatment, and the consistent vocabulary used. If the people treating patients are going to continue to label it an allergy, then that is what patients will continue to call it. The onus is on the healthcare industry to change conversation and approach.

I'm truly sorry for the fear, loss, and damage that anyone has suffered. Regardless of the vocabulary or treatment approach, it still needs to be addressed and you, as the patient, are your own best advocate. Never be afraid to speak up and insist on a mutually satisfying resolution.

Ultimately, healthcare is a service industry -- highly educated and to be respected, but still performing a service for you. If you are not happy with the "service", move on to someone or someplace else where feel you are a partner in your healthcare -- not dismissed, but instead heard. Allergy, sensitivity, or reaction -- it's still a scary and confusing thing to deal with and I wish everyone the very best.


@post 71: It is really important to get your body balanced between your adrenal gland and your thyroid gland before you get relief from your symptoms. (read the book "Stop the Thyroid Madness").

Also, Armour natural thyroid will allow those with allergic reactions to the synthetic chemicals in products such as oroxine to be able to take treatment.


What is the difference, if any, between shellfish iodine and the iodine listed in a protein bar? I can tolerate small doses of iodine with just an itchy skin reaction. Muscle Milk has iodine in it, also.


I had a ct scan in July. My body went into anaphylactic shock (stopped breathing then heart stopped). The doctors gave me six epinephrine shots and performed CPR on me for four minutes. They had trouble stabilizing me. I was in the ICU for 24 hours and then moved me to a regular room for three days. But hey, no broken ribs.


I am a 39 year old x ray/ct tech and I have a severe iodine allergy. At first i thought it was just shellfish, which cause my throat to swell and breathing difficulties, but found out through exposure at work it is also betadine and the IV dye we give. My allergy extends to all salt water fish, seaweed, shellfish and even salty processed foods.

I use sea salt at home and take it with me to restaurants, and have learned to ask about sauce bases in "fancy" places as many use oyster sauce as a base.

For those not in the medical field, ask for a iodine/betadine allergy to be posted on your chart, and for a allergy bracelet for every visit. Also be aware that in any trauma situation, a medic alert bracelet may save your life as the first thing they do for an unconscious wreck victim is a body CT with iodine.


I also have an Iodine allergy. Found it out when I had an iodine dye for tests. My face and throat swelled up and Ihad to have to shots of benadryl in my veins. My face was swollen for a week after. I avoid iodized salt and all sea products kelp etc. For your information, carrageenan is made from seaweed. This is in all kinds if food. It is used as a thickener. Chocolate milk, ice cream, lunch meats, slim fast etc. all have it. I have come to check all labels before I buy something new. I just thought I would warn all you other iodine allergic sufferers.


I had a CT scan in 2007 with dye.It nearly killed me. About an hour after they were done, my wife rushed me to the hospital as I had started having trouble breathing. I was on steroids and a benadryl for 10 days.The rash and hives did not go away until around day eight.

Fast forward to 2012. I had a heart attack,and required emergency stents. Again, the dye caused an allergic reaction. The doctor was aware thanks to my wife, and before he even started and had given me prednisone(sp?)and benadryl. The hives still lasted more than 10 days and the itching/swelling especially at my joints and around my belly button were insane. My skin still does not feel normal (almost three weeks out now).


In 1984 in Ireland, I had a myelogram which contained iodine and I had a very severe reaction that included headaches and vomiting. I could not lift my head. I was extremely sick for six days.

Then in December 1984, I was suspected of having gallbladder problems and I was given a leoptrin dye which caused me to collapse and my skin was yellow. The surgeon told me that the common denominator was iodine, with a mortality rate of 1 in 45,000 and he was waiting for someone to die as a consequence of being given bileoptrin. So I guess I am allergic to iodine and they warned me never to have a kidney biopsy as it would kill me.


I've been taking Idoral 12 mgs for months now and I have noticed that I get pain in my legs near my ankles mostly. I drink lots of water (12 cups a day) and am as of today going to stop to see if it goes away.


I developed an allergy to iodine. I was a big believer in alternative medicine and supplementing. I ordered Lugol's 2 percent and was taking a few drops of it throughout the day. After about six months of this, I took it one day and felt like I couldn't swallow, mouth was extremely dry, my right hand was shaky and swollen/sweating. It was a really scary experience.

I waited about a week and stupidly tried to take iodine again and the same thing happened. I did permanent damage as I have been off of iodine supplement for six months now and I cannot have anything with iodine in it. I can't have sushi (due to the seaweed), shrimp, or multivitamins containing iodine. I also feel a lump-like feeling in my throat after drinking a lot of caffeine and/or working out vigorously.

I have been to several doctors and just had a CT scan today. There is a reason that the public is cautioned about using iodine. Please listen to it and save yourself the trouble that I am now going through. I am only 27 years old.


I realized I was allergic to Iodine in Nepal. We were using potassium iodine to purify our water, something like 5ml solution per liter, then neutralizing with vitamin C tablets. After two or three days on the Everest trek, I noticed red spots on the palms of my hands and feet, soon i had redness in my groin and around my waist (basically anywhere I was sweating and not exposed). The skin in my groin area was delaminating. After about 8 or 9 days I went to a nurse, but she didn't help.

Luckily I realized this might be iodine, so I stopped trekking and started buying bottled water. It took weeks for my skin to return to normal. Anyone have any input on this?


If anyone with knowledge of my condition can give me an answer, it would be greatly appreciated.

I am 42. Within the last month and a half, I have gone to two different restaurants and had mahi-mahi. Within three to four hours, I am in the bathroom with diarrhea, puking, hot flashes with the sweats -- all night!

On Super Bowl Sunday, I ate shrimp, so I know it's not all seafood. Just when I eat the Mahi. The first time I thought "OK" It must have been bad, but the second time it was somewhere different and I had the same effect. I won't touch it again.


The first time I tried shrimp, I was nine years old. It made me sick as a dog. I cannot eat it without breathing difficulties, my tongue swelling, the room spinning and me puking. I was in the hospital and had a orange wrist band on and the nurse still put iodine on me. I had a bad reaction.

I think more people are allergic to iodine than you want to admit to. My two year old granddaughter is allergic also. When we tell you we are, you should believe us, not just your books. Use your common sense, too.


I had a many a CT scan with contrast over the last three years with no problems but today within 5-10 minutes after leaving the CT facility, my right eye conjunctiva and sinus area and face started swelling up. I took two antihistamines within minutes and maybe that is what prevented things from getting worse.

The ER doctor saw me after the eye started looking a bit better and said I would most likely have to be premedicated before I take another test. Why would I get the allergy now to this substance when I never had a problem before? Today I never had my skin itching or hives or throat closing but maybe if I had not taken the antihistamines as soon as I did, my reactions would have been more severe.


When I did a biology course five years ago we were using iodine for an experiment. Straight away I had to go outside because I got a massive headache, back of my eyes felt like they were on fire, itchy skin, trouble breathing and dry retching.

Two years later I took a forensic science course and used iodine to extract fingerprints. Same reaction happened. It can take about a week for these symptoms to go away. I went to the doctor and he said I'm sensitive to iodine. Where I work, Betadine is used often and I get the same reaction as above.


40 years ago, during an operation, my thyroid glands were killed off, apparently by iodine coming in contact with my blood (Hashimotos disease). I have been taking thyroxine 40 years since (as the thyroid glands have been removed). My medic alert bracelet states that I cannot come in contact with iodine.

Eight years ago I went into shock when a 'calcistet?' bandage was placed over a bleeding wound sending my blood pressure 230 over 90 - fortunately the nurse thought to remove the bandage before I had a stroke! I since found out the bandage contains a seaweed derivative (iodine in contact with my blood?)

I have noticed I cannot eat some fish these days without vomiting - definitely mussels, clams etc, only some fin fish (not all?) - wonder if this is linked to iodine intolerance? I can eat crayfish, prawns, iodised salt though. Confusing huh? NZ


Today I thought I was going to die at lunch. I sprinkled some salt on some watermelon and after a few bites my throat swelled shut and I was unable to get air through my nose or mouth. I was in a panic for air and did not know what to do. am on thyroid meds but never had this experience before. The experience was only a for a minute or so but I never ever want that to happen again. I now believe it was an iodine reaction after reading the other comments.


I had a severe allergic reaction to iv iodine. First, I had swelling of eyelids, then a minute after, a burning, intolerable pain. I screamed. I had hives all over my body. All I can remember was screaming. They helped me and finally gave me four different meds for the pain, swelling and hives. I was told that I could have died.

The weird thing is I never have been allergic to anything, so it was the scare of a lifetime.


Post 70 is correct. An allergy is a reaction to a protein that causes a certain white blood cell to exude histamine. I am a physician and I concur that doctors cause a lot of confusion using the term incorrectly. As a doctor I find it terribly annoying. We all studied the physical sciences and we should all know better.


Dallas (and those of us with Hashimoto's), the reason your throat gets sore when you take iodine is that it is triggering your immune system to attack the thyroid.

There is a huge amount of disinformation that says we all need more iodine and yet iodine is what triggers the immune system to attack the thyroid in those that have Hashimoto's. Now if iodine was needed for the thyroid and all this push for more iodine was helping, then why would Hashimoto's be the number one thyroid disorder -- according to the Mayo and other sources.

For those of us with Hashimoto's, we must avoid all forms of iodine.


I donated blood today and the nurse used iodine. Now the area is itchy.

My breathing is slightly labored, but that might just be because it is very hot outside today and I just walked a good ways after giving blood.

Would being itchy in the area be a sign of an allergic reaction?


Fortunately the doctor who was overseeing a routine test for my mother, had a different point of view. She was rushed to emergency and injected with an anti-histamine while they worked on her to bring her back. She now wears a medic-alert bracelet for the iodine allergy. If she had undergone a full procedure, or was overseen by someone with no appreciation to this allergy existing, she would have died immediately.

If you cannot tolerate shellfish (like lobster, shrimp, crab etc) and swell excessively with salt consumption, you may have an allergy or sensitivity. Despite what this article may imply, it is not worth dismissing. It can kill you.


I am sensitive to iodine and it is definitely the iodine as I took it in a pill to ward off hormone cancer -- iodoral - which is nothing but potassium iodine and potassium iodide.

After I finally figured out what caused buzzing in my ears and swelling of my brain and like a burning feeling in my head it took months and my thyroid never went back to normal. It took two weeks to turn the buzz in my ears to a tinnitus tone, but that tone never went away.

What happened is the iodine drove my hyperthyroid (which is what the palpitations are about) and this raised my cortisol and that shut my thyroid back off.

I can't tolerate sushi anymore. I haven't tried shellfish lately but I eat a lot of seafood so I hope shellfish is OK. I got a multivitamin without iodine for awhile but I want to add back a low dose -- it's been nine months now. I wish everything would settle down so I could take my small dose of iodine and be done worrying about it. Of course we all need iodine! --Mad Antoinette


I just had an MRI with Iodine and the next morning had to be treated for a severe allergic reaction: swelling of the face and throat, rash on trunk and limbs, inability to breathe properly. Required numerous epi injections, along with steroid shots and benadryl. I have been told never to have any invasive iodine testing. Coincidentally, I have a major intolerance to onions, which I am told is sulfur. Does anyone else have this combination of allergies? I get extremely ill after eating food with raw onions; these are usually hidden in recipes when dining out. Reaction is bloating, nausea, sleepiness, dizziness, and eventually, stomach problems. Seems to be getting more frequent and worse.

Just wondered if there is any correlation between these two and what, if anything, is a fix.


my symptoms were: eyes burning a few minutes after I've eaten, headaches, burning stomach at night, eyes very dry at night, itchy skin. homeopath diagnosed me correctly. had to get non-iodised salt and stay away from shellfish. got better after a week. if i use iodised salt i get worse again. i think many people suffer and don't know the cause. strange, but no throat swelling with me.


I am allergic to iodine. Within thirty minutes, the room starts spinning and I start to throw up. The last reaction was the worse ever. I had eaten Shoney's fries and didn't know they were fried with shellfish. After throwing up and up I was able to lie on one side after taking a couple of Benadryl. I could only lie on my left side or everything would spin. I otherwise am healthy and never had any operations or not on any meds. My hubby was with me and it scared him to death. I am fifty-three years old.


Why would an allergy only be a protein when some people's worst allergies are animals and plants? And yes I am also deadly allergic to iodine and I am shocked that whoever you are who posts on here thinks you know more than doctors in the ER and patients who've almost died?

Some people will argue about something they have no clue what they're saying. So sad. Everyone is different.


I am a 69 year old woman. About one or two years ago, I developed a dry mouth. This gradually progressed to gum disease. I have always been very conscientious with dental hygiene and made regular visits to the dentist. Health practitioners couldn’t throw any light on the problem. I have more recently developed a rapid heart beat and difficulty sleeping through the night.

A few days ago I came across some information on potassium iodide toxicity. This led me to check my the Multi Vitamin/Mineral supplement that I have been taking for a number of years to find that it contains 150 micrograms of Potassium Iodide. It has been suggested to me that I may have developed a sensitivity to this form of Iodine. Has anyone else had similar experiences?


This is in response to post 71, the woman with mild hypothyroidism who cannot take iodine and who T4/T3 meds don't help. I have a very similar history + symptoms, (52 years old).

My hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's) has its source in fluoride poisoning from drinking lots of black and green tea for decades. So in studying fluoride poisoning, I found out that only T3, not T4 is the appropriate med.

For a while I took Standard Process Prolamine iodine and later a multivit. supplement with iodine an iron. My Hashimoto antibody count came down, which meant that I was on the right track re: getting rid of fluoride in my system (fewer antibodies to thyroid and adrenals means less fluoride which caused them). But I had rapid heartbeats, so I reduced my T3 (triiodoliothyronine), happily thinking my thyroid is getting better and due to too much T3 now is going hyper and reducing the T3 med was all it needed. But free T3 + T4 tests showed me that I was wrong and had gone hypo again.

So I stopped any multivitamin or iodine intake and my heart rate slowed down. I am now taking my basal temperature every day to see what amount of T3 I need to get my thyroid to acting normal. I avoid iodine salts and sushi wraps, can eat seafood though, and food tells me that it had too much iodine for me when my heart rate increases.

There is much more to know about how all these symptoms and connections having to do with iodine, but slowly I am getting to know via trial and error what works for me while getting the fluoride out of my system and my bones and endocrine glands healthier.


Okay, if there is no such thing as an allergy to iodine, and many people seem to have had a reaction, please explain why so many individuals who have had severe reactions (myself included)that necessitated emergency medical intervention? I can attest to the hives, breathing issues and near death experience! Until you have been on the "table" and experienced a severe reaction, you don't know what you're talking about.

There is plenty more information online.


Seems odd to me so many iodine reactions and with the same writing style. Is someone mass producing the same comments over and over? Seems almost like whoever it is is trying to steer people from iodine. Population control?


You can indeed be allergic to an element. There is an article on the Mayo Clinic website on nickel allergy. Nickel is an element.


Comment #70 is absolutely correct. There is no such thing as an iodine allergy! It is not possible.


I, too, had a severe allergic reaction to IVP dyes and almost died. I was also worried about taking the potassium iodine pill. Finally, I found an answer to this question online. The doctor said, if you are allergic to IVP dyes, do not potassium iodine pills. However, he did not offer any alternative treatment.


I'm also concerned about there being a nuclear fallout and not being able to take anything to prevent radiation. My father is fatally allergic to iodine. When it was injected into his body, he went into shock and died for about eight minutes, but fortunately was brought back. My parents are unsure of if I have the allergy or not. What to do?


I had iodine dye X-ray in the 80s for my kidneys and had immediate anaphylactic shock and scared the nurse and she immediately called the doctor for help. He told me to sit and wait it out and never recorded this in my file. However. I believe that it could be other chemicals in the dye that they use because I can eat shellfish and iodine in salt. My doctor does not want to test me because he said your experience is good enough to say you are allergic to iodine. I don’t know if I am allergic or not. --Canadian


I had anaphylactic shock after an iodine dye and like comment #73 am concerned about what to take if there was a radiation fallout.


I had Iodine dye from an Xray on my kidneys and had immediate anaphylactic shock and almost died on the table. I was told I was allergic to Iodine and should always inform medical staff of what happened and that could never have it again.

I was wondering, if there was an Radiation fallout threat, would I be able to take Iodine tablets? If not, what would I have to do instead?


I'm thinking about delaying my CT scan after reading this information. I had a reaction to the iodine RCM in the '80's and realize using the non-ionic RCM is safer now but I am still concerned and will have more dicussion with my doctor before proceeding. Thanks for this informative site. -Dayton


I (64 yo female) have been diagnosed with mild hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. I have been taking 7.5 mg (a very low dose) of hydrocortisone for three months and it is helping with the fatigue, stress reactions, hypertension, and improved sleep. For the hypothyroid I have tried Armour, Naturethroid and Synthroid many different times over the last five years. Every time after about three to five days, I become hyperthyroid with fast heart rate, hypertension, anxiety, feeling like I want to jump out of my skin. When I suggested to my doc that I was reactive to the iodine in these drugs, he blew me off.

Yesterday, I ate a fish sandwich at Arby's and by night time, my resting heart rate was 90-120 bpm and I had to take a beta blocker. I think it was both the fish and the iodized salt they use in fast food restaurants! Can't take any multivitamins or any other supplements containing iodine without the same reactions occurring either. Kelp or other sea vegetables, spirulina, shrimp, all affect me the same way.

Whether you call this an "allergy", a reaction, a detoxing or whatever doesn't matter. It's clear that I need to steer clear of iodine in any form. I'm currently on a thyroid supplement from my acupuncture doc which I'm very optimistic about. Apparently it has no iodine in it, since I've been taking it for two weeks without incident.

I wonder how many other people can't take thyroid meds because they are having side effects to the iodine they contain? It makes treating hypothyroid very tricky for them but maybe ACP and iodine-free supplements (although they take longer to work) might help. - eli


How in holy hell can anybody possibly be allergic to iodine?

1. A true allergy is an autoimmune response to an introduced protein. Iodine is not a protein. It is an element.

2. Iodine is used by the body to make thyroid hormone. If you were allergic to iodine, you would die.

This sounds a lot like people who claim they are allergic to sulfur. Again, this is not possible, because sulfur is an element rather than a protein, and because sulfur is essential to human life. For instance, it's a component of your blood. It'd be like being allergic to iron.

But I suspect that the people who think they are allergic to sulfur are actually intolerant of *sulfa*, which is a chemical compound used as an antibiotic and which contains other elements in addition to sulfur.

Note I said "intolerant" rather than "allergic", since, if your body is reacting badly to a substance that is not a protein, by definition it is not an allergic reaction. Doctors may use the term "allergy" as a catch-all in a case like this because it is a word the patient understands, but that doesn't mean the use of the term is technically or medically accurate.

I suspect what is blamed on "iodine allergy" is actually an intolerance to some other substance paired with the iodine. In the case of contrast dye, there are other ingredients present besides the iodine. Contrast dye intolerance, shellfish allergy, and intolerance to topical iodine compounds (which, again, would be intolerance to other ingredients in the compound – you would die without iodine in your body) are all unrelated to one another, and it's possible to have intolerance to one class of substances while being able to tolerate the others. If you do a web search for iodine contrast dye you will find an article about this topic.

Another possibility when people react to things with iodine in them is that your body's got some kind of issue dealing with iodine. Maybe you're one of the minority out there who have more than enough iodine present in their bodies and yours is saying, "OK, I've got enough already." Maybe you have an underlying health condition that keeps you from utilizing iodine 100 percent correctly in the body. Whatever it is, maybe you should consider getting tested for your iodine status (how much there is in your body) and maybe get a thyroid workup to make sure everything is OK. Don't just assume you have an allergy and avoid the stuff or you could do more harm than good.


I had a angiogram and it was not until an hour after that my blood pressure dropped so low I had the crash team get me back. It was decided that I had an allergic reaction to the "Trace." However, I have had two abortions and because I was awake I had to tell them how I felt and they took my blood pressure very regularly.

They injected me a number of times to get my blood pressure back. The last time they used iodine as before to wash the groin and I had a very bad reaction which kept me in hospital a further week.

I have been told I cannot have a CT scan but a MRI with a non iodine but expensive fluid. I have to wear a red band when ever I am in hospital showing my iodine allergy.


I have an allergy to iodine contrast. My reaction was cardiac arrest. I was given the iodine contrast during an angiogram. My heart stopped after the dye was injected and it had to be shocked back to life. Yes it is a rare allergy but scary.


Glad I found this site to post my story. had a myelogram due to a back injury in 2004, and I was just about dead on the table due to the dye injected into my spine. I had to lie on my stomach for my procedure, and when they injected that iodine dye, my body started shutting down.

First I felt like I was on fire, then my hearing was fading, and my speech was going. Finally, by the grace of god, somebody in there knew I was in distress, and had to call a Code blue. They literally had to bring me back to life. I was 40 years of age at the time.

I now have to have a GI procedure, and was scared to death about them having to use dye, but was told that they don't have to use that kind of dye that is so dangerous to a lot of us, and darn nearly killed me. That bad dye is called "radiopacity". Not all dye has these serious side effects.

I would never in a million years have that kind of dye again for a test. I would rather be put in the OR under general anesthesia, cut me open, and fix the problem. Seriously, that was the worst day of my life.


I need to have a breast MRIs for the rest of my life (i have radiation sensitivity and cannot have mammograms), but I am "allergic" (by whatever definition) to topical Iodine/Betadine. I have read that Gadolinium (the MRI contrast) is contraindicated if you have a problem with Iodine. One doctor has told me that I will be fine if given oral steroids before the MRI. True?


I've know since childhood that I have an Iodine allergy. I've had the same problem as #43 (anon52122) with eggs that are not antibiotic free, and yolks. Red dyes that are iodine based cause problems. Milk has a lot of iodine leached into it from the washing of the udders.

Use caution with x ray dye contrasts and don't take the tech's word for it. Ask to see the MSDS and have them show it to you. I had to have an upper GI and the radiology tech blew me off and told me the contrast didn't have iodine. I insisted on seeing the MSDS. He was shocked and embarrassed at his error and I wrote the hospital a letter about the situation. Learn all the other names used for iodine.

I am allergic to scallops. All other Alaska seafood is fine for me. Seafood from other areas causes me problems. In restaurants that serve seafood, make sure the chef understands you have an allergy so there is no cross-contamination in the kitchen.


I am iodine allergic, I have hypothyroidism and I tried MACA to help improve my hypothyroidism symptoms but, MACA almost killed me.

Be aware of MACA if you are allergic to iodine.


When I was 26, I went to the Caribbean, where the iodine content in fish is very high. On the last night, we had a seafood bisque. Before I finished the bowl, my throat was on fire. We went home the next day, but then my thyroid swelled up like a baseball and I could only get water down my painful and swollen throat.

The doctor did nothing so I suffered for two weeks like that. After that, I had no voice and it would cut out for the next two years.

My brother had a shot of contrast dye when he broke his arm in an accident, and he passed right out on the floor. I always tell doctors of my bad iodine reaction and that of my brother and they steer clear of ever giving me any - which I am very thankful for because it's hell to go through it when you have an allergic reaction to it.


I have iodine for my calf so it dries out her umbilical cord and i have a sudden rash on my arm that burns and it's red and it has dots. is it from the iodine?


I nearly died at 19 following an IV for bladder and kidneys. I blew up, my heart stopped and I was in intensive care for 48 hours. The contrast dye with iodine or whatever derivative or conversion, caused me to be hideously ill. Doctors now want an MRI on my breasts for thermo differences on the off chance my clear mammogram and sonogram are wrong. sod them


i had a ct scam of my brain last tuesday. In three hours the inside of my mouth was very red and blistered all over my mouth,like it was scab with a blade. i cannot eat or drink hot food. What can i do to ease the burning?


I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one that has extreme reactions to iodized salt, also anything that contains iodine. My throat closes from just about anything I eat. I am also allergic to mercury and dairy now too.


I had a CT scan on a Friday at 2 p.m. with a contrast dye with iodine injected into me, didn't know I was allergic to the dye. Didn't drink lots of fluids like they suggested.

I woke up for work on Monday and after taking a warm shower on a Monday morning before work, I noticed I started to develop red spots on my stomach, i had just broke out in hives. It wasn't itchy at first but it became more itchy as the day passed by.

By Wednesday it didn't go away, and still took Benadryl to relieve the itching.


if you had an allergic reaction like 30 years ago due to the CT or IVP, it is mainly because you are allergic to it or it's ionic type of substance.

Presently today, the contrast used to inject you through your iv is nonionic, in which means the particles won't separate when it goes to your blood like the old IV contrast (ionic). In other words, it is safer. however, you should still tell the technologist or MD that you are allergic to any substance like iodine, shellfish or etc. If you are and if you are willing to do it because you have no choice, you should be premedicated with corticosteroids and benadryl and it should be done in a hospital setting.

The radioactive thyroid can be ingested regardless if you are allergic to shellfish or iodine. If you can be able to eat white bread, you will be able to ingest and be treated for your thyroid problem by the radioactive isotope (the white bread has as much iodine as the isotope). Again, if you are able to eat white bread without any problem.

My advice for the person who is allergic to the CT contrast even though it took place many years ago and doesn't want to take the chances with the new IV contrast today, try MRI soft tissue neck with contrast. The MRI contrast is very different from the CT one as long as your kidneys are in good shape.

Anyone can have an allergic reaction to the contrast even though you are not allergic to shellfish or iodine. There is no correlation but still please notify the technologist or your doctor regardless. Good luck to all. FYI: Barium does not have iodine but gastrografin does (the tea that patients call it or it's plain bitter).


I am 73. Seven weeks ago I ate shellfish and was rushed to the hospital, I was swollen up and my skin red and itching. The doctor gave me an injection and told me i am allergic to shellfish. Since than I cannot walk more than +/- 200 meters then my legs go limp. I stop for about two to three minutes and then I can walk again for +/- 200 meters.


I was injected with iodine for a cat scan and broke out in hives. I grew up on seafood but can no longer eat any. I have had reactions to multivitamins with iodine in it as well. I find this allergy thing highly frustrating as i am also weary of nasal sprays with salt water in them. This all does make one a little paranoid.


i myself have no reaction to shellfish and get anaphylactic shock to pcn as well as iodine injection like in CT scan and some x-rays (not like MRI solution which is not iodine based). If i eat Mahi-Mahi or fish with high content of iodine or too much too fast then you'd swear i was Will Smith in Hitch as well as it ending up with slowed breathing and then anaphylactic shock.


I had an allergic reaction to shrimp, and I ended up with my feet covered in blood blisters. My face swelled, blisters were on my face and hands. I also found out I was allergic to iodized salt when I was young. It caused severe abscess acne on my face. I have since learned to be careful of anything containing iodide or iodine.


I have been notified I have high thyroid from my blood test. I am violently allergic to iodine and have been since childhood. In all forms, seafood, any product that contains iodine.

I have been previously treated with prednisone for heart caths needed done. I react also to prednisone, and am quite tired of medical society rules regarding administration of drugs.

What do you do when your thyroid is high? One treatment is radioactive iodine! No way for this lady.

I am so weary of attempted answers. Is there one for me anywhere for this problem. Please respond if you have data regarding this situation. I am just 70 years old and so tired of the doctors' "try this" attitude and then I end up in hospital. Thanks for any assistance; it is so appreciated.


When I was about eight years old, my mom was deveining shrimp and one squirted in my eye. Shortly after, my eye swelled enormously and I was rushed to the emergency room because I couldn't breathe. Before that, I ate shrimp no problems.

I have had several episodes of hives, swelling, and breathing difficulty without knowing the cause. To date, just yesterday, after a one hour workout, I again broke out into hives, mildly. I am used to this routine after starting to work out again after more than a year. I just stopped exercising and came to the conclusion that I can't eat well salted foods.

I made a dish and used Iodized Sea Salt (45 percent) heavily last night which is flushing out of my body through sweat. I took half a benadryl,(because I hate taking the drug) but still woke with mild hives all over. Seems like if I don't take a full regular dose until the hives go away, I will itch for weeks!

I wonder if I just let the hives run their course without taking benadryl if my body will be more immune to getting hives under these circumstances in the future? I haven't tried that yet because the hives are uncomfortable and unsightly if I have to see people.


Iodine was found to be beneficial for the treatment of the thyroid /goitre accidentally when goitre sufferers went to work in mines and found their goitres miraculously disappeared. Research was done on iodine and it was proven to be a successful treatment for goitre, among other illnesses, including: Breast problems/cancer, thyroid, glands, prostate problems/cancer.

Iodine became the wonder treatment, and as a result, this was also the birth of western medicine as we know it today.

Since then medicine has debunked the idea of iodine as a treatment for numerous illnesses, and doctors studying at medical school were taught the complete opposite, that iodine would make these symptoms worse.

Iodine, used previously in the cleaning of bottles used for milk, was replaced with chlorine. Iodine, used previously in breads and baking was to be replaced with Bromide (which has no known use in the body). Many countries mistakenly introduced fluoride into tap water.

Bromide, iodine, chlorine and fluoride -- these are all in the same family in the periodic table, and work as ‘competitive inhibitors.’ This means when one is present in the body and another is introduced, it will ‘kick out’ the existing one.

Therefore, this overuse use of bromide that we see today in many foods kicks out essential iodine (which is necessary for healthy breasts, glands, thyroid, immune system) from the body. Hence, iodine deficiency.

When iodine is introduced to the body it kicks out bromide, which has to be flushed out of the body, possibly causing a detox reaction. This can be anything from difficulty breathing, rashes, headache, sore, muscles and limbs to a general feeling of flu like symptoms.

So, when people tell you they are allergic to iodine, what they could be allergic to is the sudden dumping of bromide into their body, activating their immune system.

The majority of the population is iodine deficient as a result of the above.


I am allergic to iodine. I had an amniocentesis when I was pregnant and I developed a rash under my skin when the needle punctured me.

I have had some swelling problems for the past couple of years as I have been diagnosed with Lupus and was taking tylenol and other pain meds.

My hubby wrote the FDA and found out that Sodium Chloride is an ingredient in every pill. It is part of the molecular structure of the pill. Since I have stopped taken all pills, my swelling is going down dramatically. Also, eye drops have some type of sodium in them as well.

Before I take any type of medication, I look to the FDA and they can tell me every ingredient it has so I can find out if I need to stay away from it or not.


My Dad and I are both allergic to iodine. We have both undergone allergy tests for this. Anyone who states that nobody is allergic to iodine doesn't have a clue on what they are talking about.

People who are allergic to iodine actually produce too much iodine and when more is introduced to the body a reaction occurs. Some people are only allergic to shellfish but others cannot eat iodine rich foods or have any type of iodine antiseptic on or in their body.

I do at times have very small amounts of iodine but if I have too much my throat closes in, I break out in hives and I get fluid retention within my body and I will be throwing up. My Dad has ended up in hospital, as have I, with this allergy.

Swimming in the ocean should be OK as long as your hubby doesn't mind a bit of a scratch as he will probably get itchy, however it would depend on how allergic to iodine he is.

Find a nearby beach and go let him walk in to about knee height for a while and see if this affects him. I only go in for about 15 minutes but can sit on the beach for a while. I will be scratching, as my skin will be very itchy, maybe a few small hives, if it's very windy.


Four years ago i had iodine contrast injection direct into my hip joint with no pain relief prior to MRI. i was in agony as a result of the injection. 12 hours later i was 90 percent covered in hives and blisters with eyes like slots as i was wired up with monitors in ER.

I have spent the last few years battling with hypothyroid, taking 100 ug Thyroxine daily. TSH around 6+. It doesn't fix the problems taking thyroxine as energy levels and the right amount are very hard to achieve the right balance. So I determined not to spend the rest of my life taking thyroxine. i weaned myself using kelp very slow at first due to iodine reaction, but i was able to do it without complications.

After two months i was off thyroxine and swapped kelp for boasted intake with 1 drop of Lugol's iodine every day in a pint of water with good multi vits and minerals for essential copper, potassium, selenium etc and the effects on my energy and well being were boosted for the first time in over 10 years!

So conclusion, for me i was severely iodine depleted and may have been for years. Contrast iodine IV hit me like a truck, causing a reaction but slow induction allowed me to make a full recovery.

I suspect many many people are actually severely deficient rather then allergic in classic sense. Start with low dose kelp tablets one tiny bit at first and build up slowly over weeks/months. Any sign of headaches, racing heart etc. then back off for a while. It is still in the early days for me so far but it's looking good.


Technical point please. No one is allergic to the element iodine. Everyone has a thyroid gland full of it. Bread, salt and tons of other foods contain iodine -- the element.

What people are allergic to is the organic molecule that the iodine is bound to. This is different for each food or xray dye or skin prep solution.

Please don't oversimplify by just saying "I'm allergic to iodine". Nobody is allergic to the element iodine. That is why there is no direct relationship between shrimp allergy and xray dye. The binding molecules are completely different.

Yes, you have an increased risk of allergic reaction to one thing if you have allergies to others. But it is not a direct relationship; it is just an increased risk.


I would like to know of a diet protein shake with no iodine. I know I am severely allergic to iodine. I have known since I was 10. I am 31 any ideas? Thanks. :-)


I have an iodine allergy. My mother was unable to eat shellfish, therefore we never had it as children.

However I grew up in Canberra, which is a known iodine deficient area, and were given iodine tablets at school. This was supposed to be once a month, but often it was forgotten and we would have three or more doses at a time to "make up". I now wonder if this is where my allergy arose.

I cannot put iodine on my skin as it blisters. As an adult I went to a seafood restaurant with friends and was eating shellfish. I went into shock and could not breathe. Luckily my friend is a GP and I remember him screaming for an ambulance. I don't remember anything else for the next four hours. It was his intervention that saved my life.

Years later I was given contrast medium for a scan and the same thing happened. This was despite my card being marked in large red letters "allergic to iodine". Please be vigilant.


I too am allergic to iodine. I have been having throat closing symptoms for several months now and carry an epipen. I have been

trying to figure out what could be the continued culprit.

I had been buying Eggland's Best Eggs and one day read on the inside cover that one egg contained 40 percent iodine. I was so alarmed I called the company and they did respond by telling me they add 40 percent iodine to the chicken feed they use. Voila, eggs with iodine. I have been using these eggs for

at least a year and getting worse and worse each month.

I developed angioedema in my face and have swelling and tenderness on my scalp, in

addition to the throat closing. In relation to this chicken feed issue, many feeds still contain arsenic and the majority of the

arsenic is in the skin, but also in the meat. Research articles on this and it names the companies still using this feed.

I may just go totally vegan after this news.


I had iodine through an IV. I was fine before going in. I was going to get my pelvis checked, so I assume I would get barium, which i did, then before i knew it, I was getting iodine. I had no idea that I could not eat fish or shrimp because I was allergic to shellfish.

I only told them I had seasonal allergies. now I suffer a headache on my left temple and runs down to my eye and notice I developed a vein pop on the side of by temple that was created at the time my eyes started hurting when the iodine entered my head. please be aware this is painful.


I have an allery to iodine. I do not eat any kind of fish. I had or an ivp was attempted. i coded instead and i almost died. Needless to say they stopped the procedure and told me to stay away from iodine. Therefore fish is not, and has not been a part of my diet for over 30 years. It closes my lungs, and the gums in my mouth get swollen. This is dangerous! Watch the fish oils; they may have something in them to set off the allergy.


Today I got myself a CT scan at our local hospital for pains in the left side of my abdomen. I was doing fine until they injected me with the iodine. The iodine was hurting so much I was crying and then I started having breathing troubles and I ended up becoming nauseous and throwing up on the floor. I have never ever had this reaction before to anything, including salt and shellfish (which being a college student, salt is on the top of the diet and shellfish is well. Something I grew up with). I thought it was really odd that I never had a reaction to it before, but I am glad I know for my own health.


i am allergic to iodine, septrim and bactrim. Iodised salt causes a reaction the same as the drugs. Namely, shaking and numb mouth and feeling unwell. However, after a scan I experienced the itchy rash and the doctor was looking very panicky. A dose of Fenurgin eventually fixed it. Doc said no more iodine. My Mum would never use iodine on us kids but I did not know why. --abby m


My 88 year old mother had a ct scan and the dye used contained iodine. She had a severe reaction, itching and red. Her skin over her whole body shed. it was horrendous, very hot and sore and paper thin, and she had to be smothered in E45 three timnes a day. Sadly the support of the local GP was poor and we were told although she is blind, we could not have a district nurse or a continuous care nurse for the elderly to call, so we tended her ourselves. Her skin shed and she had raw palms and could not press down to get up from a chair and weeks later she cooled down and appeared back to normal but for at least three weeks she ate hardly anything. The CT scan revealed a lung tumour which is inoperable, but she cannot face another CT scan to see its progress as she is afraid of the iodised dyes.


I don't believe it, because I experienced a severe allergic reaction when I was about ten. I didn't know why but then my mother asked me what mouth wash I was using and only that little bit I ingested left me in bed not able to consume anything - even water- for a whole day. I also think that a iodine allergy causes weight issues, because of the part it plays in weight regulation. Either that or some other hormone causes the allergy!


I am 36 and have always had a mild reaction to shellfish e.g.: throat swelling, nausea, headache hay fever, rashes etc. A few years ago I started to get a very icky rash when I sat on the sand at the beach, along with generally feeling unwell. None of these have ever bothered me as the reactions have always been rather mild.

However I have just been released from hospital after eating bread. I rang the bread company and have found out that they have started adding iodized salt to the bread in the past week. My doctor doesn’t believe me that the bread made me gravely ill. However after eating just one slice of bread I immediately had swelling to my throat and face I had hot flushes, I was nauseated, and very unwell. What scared me the most was that I had only an hour before taken my prescribed antihistamine and steroid tables, that they sent me home from hospital with. I’m just glad my husband is a paramedic and the ambulance was parked in the driveway. Am I stupid or is it possible to have a reaction to iodized salt? My doctor is running the basic blood tests. Anyone have any ideas? --liz


I am glad to hear about so many people experiencing many of the same types of rections that I have to iodine. Sea water, shellfish, topical iodine, injected iodine, multiple vitamins, salty foods. My doctor and nutritionist both tell me that iodine allergy is not a real allergy. I can eat very few foods with over 300 mg sodium per serving. great support. thank you.


range barrett and anon31242: I have had an anaphylactic reaction to iodised salt. The doctor gave adrenaline,then reaction to injection prior to IVP x ray. Now I cannot get an epipen without being tested as my allergic reaction was diagnosed some years ago and the doctors treating me now are long gone! what do I do now at 70 years with other medical problems and iodised salt being introduced into the food chain in breads and bakeries making other cakes etc. will not use both plain salt and iodised salt. Eileen


Karen, my mother was going to a cancer hospital for 21 years for breast cancer. She had so many CT ccans done but, in the last couple of years she started having reactions. First, it was hives that ran all the way from the back of her thighs to her back. So the next time they gave her steroids to take the night before and gave her a Benadryl IV before the scan. I was in waiting area just outside when I saw a nurse run out and get a doctor and an oxygen tank. I told this man next to me that somebody was in trouble. It turned out to be my mother. She started having trouble breathing. After that experience she was told she can never have the iodine contrast again. They did other CT scans, and they did say that it was not as clear as an iodine one would be. At least they would get some information. If they say things have changed, ask them if they will sign a paper that says you are 100% safe.

As for the shellfish, you might have started developing an allergy to it too. I didn't even know I had an allergy to it until I had an allergy test. Fortunately, I was never a big shellfish eater before. Your other problems may come from other sources. Read labels. You may be ingesting iodine in other forms. I have found that different forms of iodine seem to affect different lymph nodes too.

I recently had swelling and pressure on my face and forehead but it turned out to be a really really bad sinus infection. And when I was younger I had problems with my eyes. It took an eye specialitst to find that the nerves in my head were swollen. I had a condition called Pseudocerebri. Basically, it is all the symptoms of a brain tumor but no tumor.

Maybe get second opinions and you might also try fasting. Sometimes, when I feel that there are too many toxins in my body I fast. It does help. And there is always the white rice thing. Eat nothing but white rice. After a while introduce one different food at a time. See how you feel after each one.

Good luck, Karen. I hope some of this helped.


I had 2 tests requiring IVP dye in 1978 (I was 19 years old) - the first test was fine. The 2nd test, my heart stopped and I nearly died. They told me I could never have IVP dye again. Ten years later, had to have a test done to see if I had a brain tumor - they loaded me up w/steroids first and said because "this" test was going directly into an artery, that I should be OK (the first 2 tests the IVP dye went into a vein). I still had a severe reaction and hives. Fve years ago I had surgery on my foot - I had never been allergic to topical iodine solutions and the surgeon used Betadine (or similar) in surgery - the itching was worse than the pain - had to take heavy meds to get through that - he said I should never have topical iodine solutions again. Now I am having seizures and hypothyroid problems and have had non-contrast testing done and really need to have contrasted xrays but I am terrified. They keep telling me things have changed but my sister (who had never shown such an allergy in her life) just recently had to have IVP dye and she had a reaction ... I can eat shellfish, which I used to love but recently doesn't taste as good to me - am I allergic to iodine or something else in these products? Can I trust them when they say they can give me something prior to testing so I won't die from the test, given my history?? I am now having some swelling issues on my forehead and other parts of my scalp and really should have some testing done - help?! Karen


Reactions to imaging dyes are rare and can cause death. I was on the table when mine was discovered and almost died as my heart rate dropped to the mid-30's. Thankfully I had a quick acting cardiologist who was able to stablize me. I now take 3 meds before any procedure to counter act the dye allergy and it has worked so far. --Susan


I have read all the posts. Rather than say I am allergic to iodine, I will simply state I am allergic to some form of contrast used in CAT scans for those who are skeptic. Any way you look at it, I react to contrast injections. For those that doubt how serious this is, a close family friend of 40 years went into our local hospital for a simple CAT scan, not knowing she would react to the contrast injections-she died on the table even with injections to save her. It shocked every one of us since it was so unexpected and so unheard of. I never took my own reaction serious until she died in minutes, now I am absolutely certain to make sure the nurses know I am allergic. Sad way to learn how serious this really is. For those of us who have it, most of us would rather *not* prove skeptics wrong by taking injections...if you do not mind:}


Eventually had to give up french fries from any fast food place because every time I ate them I would get a headache. FYI yes you have to watch those mulitivitamins too. iodine is a favorite ingredient in these.


Hi all I need an angiogram but I cannot have the dye injected in me as I've had this done for my bladder cancer, to look at the kidneys. The doctor then gave steroids but the x ray department said I must never have the dye injected ever again. My cardiologist says he might be able to get round this but I'm a little worried and he then mentioned bypass to the heart. I would like to hear from anyone with a similar problem ......Many Thanks Bob


Though I hate that we all suffer from this "allergy/sensitivity," it is nice to know I am not the only one. I had a reaction to iodine a long time ago. First, I had uncontrollable sneezing and the next time, my throat was closing on me. After that they told me to never have iodine contrast again. Over the years it has gotten worse. An allergy test told me that I was also allergic to Shellfish. However, I was still having reactions I didn't understand. But, because of the internet I am now more informed. I can't believe how many names Iodine has. Alginate, Agar, Carrageen, and not to mention the Red dyes. I had to switch from the regular Children's Liquid Benadryl to the Dye Free one. Even since I stopped ingesting anything red I stopped having upper respiratory infections all the time. I even told my pharmacy that I don't want any medications with red in them or in red capsules. I read every label when I buy groceries now. It takes longer, but the times I don't read the labels I regret it.

When I eat out I have to ask if the fries were fried in the same grease as the shrimp. I have to buy Haagen-Dazs ice cream because it is the only one without Carrageen. Recently, I had two severe reactions to something I ate. I had to keep drinking my liquid Benadryl until my throat stopped closing, but had to go to the doctor because by the next day it still was not relaxed back to normal. I now carry Liquid Benadryl and an Epipen with me all the time. And I just got a Medical Alert bracelet. At least, I managed to find one that is fashionable and not bulky to wear.

After reading some of the comments I am considering having my kidneys checked now. But, I have also had an allergic reaction to Iodine in the air. When the Rockets won their first championship they decorated our office in Burgundy and Gold crepe paper and balloons. My eyes and nose started running from the moment I sat down. The supervisor had to remove all of it. What fun, huh?

Well, my last comments are that we have to be proactive with this allergy. You need to know all the different names that iodine goes under because others may not. I went to have a biopsy, and I told the nurse that I was allergic to Iodine. She said no problem because they were going to use Benadine. Hello! That is Iodine. And if I have surgery I tell whoever is with me to never leave me alone. I knew a woman who went in for a simple biopsy. They gave her a shot or maybe took blood. Either way, by the time they came back to the room she was brain dead. She had had a reaction to the swab. From what I read on here, it must have been Iodine.

So my alert bracelet says Iodine** *all* forms and Info Wallet/Phone. I put the other names that I know for Iodine on my wallet card and in my home phone information. It may seem extreme, but my life may depend on it someday. Well, that is my story. Good luck to the rest of you fellow sufferers.


I found out about my sensitivity to Iodine when preparing shrimp. My hands became very hot and started burning and a rash quickly developed. I also noticed that when ingesting iodine, through seafood, I begin to have increased chest congestion and mucous production. So, here is a good one. I just started taking a multi-vitamin and a total body purifier. A day later, I noticed that I had a low grade fever and increased fatigue that I couldn't figure out why. Here I am a week later and can't seem to shake it. Low and behold, what is put into a multi-vitamin and the total body purifier, but Iodine!!


A few years ago I had an allergic reaction to shellfish. I was rushed to the ER I don't really remember much. A few months after the reaction I developed subclinical hypothyroidism, I am currently taking 60mg of Armour.

Last week I had a blood test taken and they determined that I was allergic to all forms of shellfish and also Iodine. I am really curious how this will affect me. Right before I was put on Armour my TSH and FT4 were both low, they did all sorts of pituitary tests and found my pituitary to be fine.

Could my Iodine allergy be causing my thyroid levels to be off? What other problems may I be facing with an Iodine Allergy other than just an anaphylactic reaction?


re: ange barrett, I have had an anaphylactic reaction to iodized salt and a reaction to injection prior to kidney x-ray. Interesting that I have some impaired kidney function like you.

With the introduction of iodized salt to all bread products in Australia. In September I am now looking to a safe test so I can have an epipen. Also is there any contraindications for the elderly using an epipen.


I tried one of those diets sponsored by physicians and had an allergic reaction to the products. The mineral supplement had 150 mcg of iodine and all the food replacements had iodine. I could use the products for 2 days and the third day I was flushed, felt sunburned, had a racing heart and over all panic. I quit for a day, resumed the regimen and the same thing happened again. When I discontinued, the symptoms disappeared.

Anyone ever heard of this before?


I am an X-ray Technologist, and we do have contrast dyes that are iodine-free. If a person has iodine, shellfish, or just multiple allergies, we always use this dye, so don't be scared of the test.

Also, swimming in the ocean is safe-it is not the ocean putting iodine into the seafood, but the process of a creature building a shell, that produces iodine in its tissues-the reason people react to shellfish, and not other fish that live in the sea!


I have an iodine allergy, but mine is more focused on the iodine swab, and also iodized anything. I've been told this is very rare. But it does happen, and it upsets me when people claim "Iodine allergies aren't real." Live my life for a day then tell me that.



Iodine(I2) is an insoluble crystal, in water. Iodide ([x]I)is a salt common to be ionically bonded with potassium, thus potassium iodide(KI). KI can be handled by the body. Lugol's solution is a solution of both.

I saw Dr. Brownstein's video also. Very intriguing discussion. This guy was prescribing 75mg/day to people! If those people didn't die then there is no way you people are allergic to iodide. I claim that what you are seeing as an allergic reaction is the iodine replacing fluoride or bromide in your thyroid.

Which are hazardous poisons, yet the stuff is everywhere. In the water, in our bread, they have poisoned our precious bodily fluids. lol. seriously, though. I would say anyone who has a skin reaction is severely iodine-deficient. Learn more about it!


i am severely allergic to iodine but not to shellfish but now only just having reactions to some wines, not sure if it is the fining process where they use fish products or sulfates.


I had cat-scan schedule for a regular cat -scan

next i found I was to having an IV inserted with Iodine injected. I was told if i was allergic to any thing I said I had seasonal allergies.

I had no idea that the reason i could not eat shrimp was because i was allergic to iodine. I found out to late after i was given iodine I had a terrible reaction a bad headache eyes hurt and felt like vomiting. i was given benadryl and now suffer bad headaches and have high blood pressure. i was fine before.


will my father had ct chest with contrast 1-18-2008 and passed away 2-5-2008


I had an angiogram a few years ago and was terribly ill from the reaction to the contrast. I have had an iodine allergy all of my life. now my dr. wants me to have a discogram, and he won't do surgery on my back until I have one. I'm worried about the reaction and even death this time. any suggestions? i've had every test to prove what my back problem is already. i can't have steroids to counter react the contrast because i have diabetes.


Some people are allergic to iodine itself. Once in the ER for something else, I got my blood drawn and ended up with hives. Guess what -- the person who drew my blood hadn't paid any attention to the orange wristband and I assumed that everyone looks at the chart! I had been swabbed with iodine.

My worst reaction to iodine was it being used as part of a cleaning agent prior to me getting an MRI. I got serious hives, took the blispak and yet they came back. Now, I am always cautious about what medical people are using.


hi, i am anaphylactic to shellfish and was wondering if i could still swim in the ocean without it affecting me. thanks


How do I know if I have an iodine allergy? I need to have an angiogram and the doctor asked if I'm allergic to iodine. I have no idea. Can you help?


I have sea food allergies, fish and shellfish. I had a c-section and a week later I noted extreme itching and redness across my belly. The phone advise nurse said itching was a good sign of healing. When I went in to have my stitches checked the nurse called a doctor over to view my belly and I found out that I was having an allergic reaction to the iodine. I was advised to take benadryl and apply cortisone and check back in 4 days to see if clear. I think the ibuprofen and hydrocodone for pain helped subside the itchiness the first week. The allergy has lasted long but thank goodness I did not get a more extreme reaction like when I eat fish. If you are allergic like me and plan to have surgery ask the doctor to use a different topical sterilizer.


I was born with three kidneys (2 damaged which one needed repair). I had monthly IVP tests as a child. I currently get lumps on the back of my neck, sometimes my face, ears, and scalp when I ingest too much of anything with high levels of Iodine in it. The more iodine the worse the reaction. I do not usually have an immediate skin reaction but if I do eat sea salt or iodized salt I get a severe headache in a matter of minutes. I do not have the same reaction with un-iodized salt. I have been tested for other food allergies and the only other thing I am allergic to is soy (hives and itchy skin). Is there any cure for this problem, be it allergy or sensitivity?


I am still really confused regarding allergy or sensitivity. I have never before been allergic to shellfish - but have recently noticed that whenever I eat shrimp I get violently ill. However, today while I was donating blood I started to have a reaction on my arm. They had put iodine on my arm and almost instantly my arm became blotchy and itchy and I started feeling my throat tighten and felt queasy - they were able to completely wash my arm and within about a couple of hours I started feeling better.

My doctor - without testing me has authorized a prescription for a ephipen - so does this mean I am allergic or not to iodine?


Is iodine and Iodide the same thing? im severely allergic to shellfish, and i always thought i was allergic to iodide too, not iodine, i had an iodine injection at the hospital for xrays, and i fish all the time, so does that mean I've just been paranoid and not really allergic to iodine or iodide?


I have a low thyroid. I also have Lupus and Fibromyalgia. I am also very obese due to the steroid treatments I took over time. Would I benefit from Iodine? And if so, how would I know if I were sensitive to it? Would there be any side effects? What does iodine sensitivity look like?


Proteins are NOT the only thing that cause allergies! Have you never heard of fruit allergies, to name one?

Secondly, you CAN swim in the ocean if you are shellfish allergic -I have swam many times! I am severely allergic to shellfish (I need up to 4 epi pen injections and an inhaler before the ambulance even gets to me - my anaphylactic reaction is immediate and severe.)

Shellfish allergies are more likely to be present with an idodine sensitivity in a person, but an allergic person is not necessarily also allergic to iodine. A qualified allergist can test you for food/other allergies, and your fiance should be given a prescription for an epi pen prescription to carry with him at all times, if a true allergy is present.

Iodine allergies, while rare, are real. Mine has been confirmed through direct contact at a hospital (being swabbed with iodine solution, and having an immediate anaphylactic reaction.)


First, only proteins cause allergies. Second, iodine is a poison. A chemical reaction is necessary to convert it to iodide. A chemical reaction involving skin is called a burn. Confusing iodine with iodide is a very common mistake. Even people who ought to know better do it.


Every time I eat/drink a product containing even a little bit of Spirulina, I become very ill - severe vomiting, dizziness - my whole body goes into shock. Could I be sensitive to iodine?

I do have hypothyroidism, and take medication for this, would that be affecting me?


I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis and according to Dr. David Brownstein on the web, even people with autoimmune thyroid disease need more iodine and about 95% of the population in the States is iodine deficient. I know I am. If I do the iodine patch test, the iodine only remains on my skin for a few hours. Trouble is, whenever I try to get more iodine either by painting it on my skin, or eating kelp or whatever, although I feel really good and quite energetic, I get a sore throat in the thyroid area. I had this same symptom when I took Armour Thyroid medication and my naturopath said it was because I am allergic to it. Is a sore throat indicative of iodine allergy? Is there anything I can do about it?


I suspect that I have an allergy to Iodine as I had a severe allergic reaction to some topical medicine containing iodine. 4 days ago, I started taking a multivitamin containin 150 mcg of iodine and I had another reaction. Could I be reacting to the iodine in the multivitamin?


my fiance is allergic to iodine. he can not eat any seafood without it coming back up (and unfortunetly he absolutely loves shrimp). my question is would he be able to swim in the ocean on our honeymoon or would he have an allergic reaction too. if so then we need to change our plans.

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    • People who have a shellfish allergy have an increased risk of being allergic to iodine.
      By: antonio scarpi
      People who have a shellfish allergy have an increased risk of being allergic to iodine.
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