Food poisoning by raw fish

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Food poisoning by raw fish usually occurs once the individual consumes raw fish that is already warm before it was served or has been contaminated with an infectious organism such as a bacterium, virus or parasite. The contamination can also occur from a toxin produced by an infectious organism. Always bear in mind that the contamination of raw fish usually occurs during the storage, handling or the preparation process.

Types of food poisoning

There are various types of food poisoning that can develop after consumption of raw fish. The most common is scromboid poisoning. Take note that this type of food poisoning occurs once the fish becomes too warm after they are caught. This leads to the buildup of histamine within the fish. Once the fish is eaten, this substance can cause the food poisoning reaction that is strikingly similar to an allergic reaction. If you want to learn the difference between food poisoning and an allergic reaction, click here.

Food poisoning by raw fish can also develop due to the contamination of raw fish by infectious organisms. Since the fish is raw, these organisms are not eliminated and will invade the body. Some of the frequent transmittable organisms that can contaminate raw fish usually include hepatitis A, Vibrio vulnificus and noroviruses.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of scromboid poisoning typically starts within half an hour after the raw fish are eaten. The symptoms include vomiting, hives, facial flushing, nausea and abdominal pain.

Food poisoning-raw fish
The symptoms include vomiting, hives, facial flushing, nausea and abdominal pain.

As for the symptoms of food poisoning by raw fish due to an infectious organism, they usually start several hours after consumption or several days after. The symptoms that typically occur include abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, fever and fatigue.

Treatment for food poisoning by raw fish

Scromboid poisoning is usually treated with an antihistamine. The antihistamine works by blocking the action of histamine present in the blood and minimizes the symptoms within 24 hours.

As for food poisoning that was triggered by an infectious organism, the treatment involves bed rest and increasing the intake of fluids during the course of the illness. The symptoms can last for 1-10 days but can last only to three days in some cases.

What are the possible complications?

Unless the intake of fluids is not increased, chronic vomiting and diarrhea linked with food poisoning can eventually lead to dehydration. The dehydration that develops is considered as a medical emergency that requires hospitalization. Take note that children and elderly face a higher risk for complications from food poisoning and dehydration.

Important considerations to bear in mind

Once raw fish is eaten, it is important to ensure that it was properly stored at the right temperature until it is ready to be served. When raw fish is eaten outside, always make sure that the restaurant is reputable and has certified qualifications in serving raw fish.

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