The risk of food poisoning from fish reduces considerably, if correct cooking methods and proper storage methods are adopted. This article provides some information on the symptoms and treatment methods for the food poisoning due to fish.
When it comes to food poisoning, the consumption of food items contaminated with pathogens, intestinal parasites, or their toxins maybe the exclusive causal reason. For example, the consumption of unpalatable mushroom varieties often results in food poisoning, as a result of the toxins. As far as the food poisoning from fish is concerned, disease-causing microbes or toxins enter the body after consuming raw or cooked fish. It could also occur due to the chemical pollution in water bodies, from where the fish are being caught for selling in the market.
There are basically two types of poisoning caused by fish: scombroid and ciguatera poisoning. The symptoms might appear 30 minutes or 24 hours after the consumption of the fish, and the severity would depend upon the contaminating agent, the amount of fish consumed, and the affected person’s health.
Symptoms of Ciguatera Poisoning
It is the leading seafood poisoning type all over the world. This type is caused due to the consumption of reef fish (from tropical water bodies), wherein, the flesh of the fish is fouled with toxins. Moreover, the harmful substances are retained even after the preparation. The notable signs of this food-borne illness are:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Itchy skin
- Muscle pain
- Sensitivity to temperature
Symptoms of Scombroid Poisoning
This type of poisoning results from consuming decayed fish. To be more precise, certain fish after being exposed to very high temperatures get spoiled because of excess histamine accumulation, which when consumed leads to this type of poisoning. The symptoms include:
- Unusual reddening of the face
- Abdominal pain
As observed in most cases, the symptoms are attributed to digestive problems. However, if the condition is left untreated, the toxins would affect the other parts of the body, including the extremities, resulting in various signs and symptoms. Thus, to avoid any serious medical problems, the affected people should seek medical attention at the earliest.
The main objective for therapeutic intervention is the management of the symptoms and prevention of medical complications (if any) in the affected people. Symptomatic approach is followed in people affected by ciguatera poisoning. In case of scombroid poisoning, the symptoms occur due to reactions of the body’s immune system to histamine. Hence, the treatment involves the use of antihistamine medications to combat the symptoms.
However, in healthy adults, the symptoms of scombroid poisoning will subside gradually within couple of days. Whereas, in the other type, the symptoms may persist for as long as 1 – 2 weeks. The best approach would be to avoid the triggers or risk factors. Food-borne illness from sushi has also been reported in many instances. Hence, for those who crave for sushi or similar delicacies, care should be taken while eating from outside or preparing it at home.
The logic is to avoid fish that are usually contaminated with toxins. By doing so, one could lower the risk of the ciguatera type of poisoning. However, regarding the other type, one should consume only those fish that are preserved by cold storage method.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.