Scombroid Poisoning: A Brief Review | by Ferry Zaain | Oct, 2021

Scombroid poisoning is a syndrome that triggers an adverse allergic-like reaction after consuming a scombroid fish containing excessive histamine levels. Huh? Your “aha moment” will come. Let me explain it in a much simpler way.

These dark meat-containing fish possess a chemical histidine. Improper storage causes the bacteria to multiply in their bodies and converts histidine into scombrotoxin.

Not to mention, scombrotoxin’s main component is histamine that is responsible for causing scombroid poisoning. Thus, the terrible symptoms result.

Different preparation methods like smoking or cooking will kill the bacteria but will not minimize the histamine levels. However, it is vital to note that this type of poisoning is neither an allergic reaction nor contagious.

The contaminated fish usually have a terrible odor, a peppery taste, and its skin appears to be honey-combed once cooked.

Cooking does not eradicate histamine levels, as I mentioned, and is unevenly distributed in the fish. Therefore, its symptoms might vary if the contaminated fish is shared among individuals.

The symptoms might begin to appear within two to thirty minutes to an hour. A person may feel flushed, and a rash can develop in various areas like the upper back, chest, neck, and face. The affected areas can become itchy, hot, and red.

Moreover, a person can also feel a burning or a tingling sensation around his mouth, headache, vomiting, sweating, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, and chills.

Severe symptoms are pretty rare, but these include heart-stopping, tongue swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Mild or moderate symptoms usually resolve in a few hours or several days. However, in severe cases, medications and inhalers are prescribed.

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