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Scombroid Poisoning

Scombroid poisoning is a type of food poisoning that is caused by spoiled fish. The fish often appears normal, but it can sometimes have a peppery taste. Unfortunately, the scombroid toxin is heat stable, so cooking the fish will not reduce the toxicity. Symptoms appear quickly, usually in an hour or less after the fish has been eaten.

  • Most Common Types of Seafood Affected
    • Anchovies
    • Blue fish
    • Jacks
    • Mackerel
    • Mahi-mahi
    • Sardines (pictured at right)
    • Swordfish
    • Tuna
  • Typical Symptoms of Scombroid Poisoning
    • Headache
    • Flushing/redness
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Dizziness
    • Itchy rash
  • More Severe Symptoms of Scombroid Poisoning
    • Trouble breathing/shortness of breath
    • Blurred vision
    • Swelling of the tongue
  • Treatment
    • Anti-allergy medicine (antihistamines) containing diphenhydramine or cimetidine and taken as directed on the bottle.
    • Call the Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for futher treatment advice.
    • Call 9-1-1 for difficulty breathing or a swollen tongue.


Aquatic Animals that Sting
Aquatic Animals that Puncture
Aquatic Animals that Cause Rashes
Aquatic Animal Food Poisoning
Ciguatera Poisoning
Scombroid Poisoning
Vibrio vulnificus
Carolinas Poison Center    P.O. Box 32861    Charlotte  NC    28232-2861    1-800-222-1222  •  © 2014