Scombroid poisoning is a condition brought about by ingestion of contaminated food, usually fish. It is important to note that bacteria multiplied during improper storage of the dark meat of fish and later produces the scombroid toxin.
The scombroid toxin is a mixture of histamine and histamine-like components. Remember that the toxin does not affect everyone who ingests it.
What are the indications of scombroid poisoning?
The signs of scombroid poisoning typically manifest rapidly within 30 minutes up to an hour after ingestion of the poison and might include the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
Other symptoms that might manifest include:
- Burning sensation in the mouth
- Unusual pounding of the heart
If a severe reaction occurs, the symptoms that might arise include racing heart rate, low blood pressure and wheezing.
Generally, the symptoms last for 3 hours but some continue to experience discomfort for a few days.
Management of scombroid poisoning
Many doctors recommend induced vomiting which can help eliminate the poison if the individual is awake and aware and recently ate the fish within the past 3 hours.
Oral charcoal can be given in some individuals after ingesting significant amounts of food that might contain large amounts of scombroid poison.
For some doctors, they recommend pumping of the stomach to get rid of foods before charcoal is given. Nevertheless, the individual is given intravenous fluids since he/she might be dehydrated from vomiting.
It is important to note that scombroid poisoning can be managed with oral diphenhydramine and ranitidine to help lessen or stop the symptoms.
When to seek medical attention
If the individual has a severe or lengthy reaction which includes shortness of breath, hypotension or swelling of the throat or tongue, it necessitates medical care right away since this might be a medical emergency.
Among those with mild symptoms, a doctor can be consulted about treatment with over-the-counter medications.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on scombroid poisoning is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs by taking a standard first aid course with Toronto First Aid.