You probably shouldn’t eat cicadas if you’re allergic to shellfish.

Brood X is back and ready for action. After 17 years of sleep, cicadas of the eastern United States have emerged to scream, mate, and possibly pick up the fungus that turns them into “horror movie sex bots.” While some people feared the return of the screeching masses, others anxiously awaited the brood with delicious insect recipes in hand. But before you run to the nearest cicada restaurant, keep in mind that you probably want to avoid those crunchy nuggets if you’re allergic to shellfish.

If you are allergic to shellfish, it is possible that you will have a reaction to eating certain insects. After all, what are shrimp and lobster if not sea beetles? Seriously, during the colonial era, lobsters were only food for the poor and prisoners because they were considered bottom-dwelling cockroaches and not a delicacy.

Like their oceanic counterparts, cicadas are arthropods. Their bodies contain similar proteins to which the body overreacts in an allergic reaction. Their chitinous exoskeletons can also irritate your gut (or your pet’s gut) in large amounts, even if you’re not allergic. But in general, insects are an excellent food source that is eaten all over the world, and, perhaps, they are the future. So if you’ve never had a seafood problem, keep eating while the buffet is still open.

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