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Scombroid Poisoning

Scombroid poisoning is a type of food poisoning that is caused by fish that was not properly stored after it was caught. The fish often appears normal, but may 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 and may last 12 - 24 hours.

Most common types of seafood affected:


 blue fish



 sardines (pictured at left)





Typical Symptoms of Scombroid Poisoning

More Severe Symptoms of Scombroid Poisoning




trouble breathing/shortness of breath


blurred vision

nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

swelling of the tongue



itchy rash


If you feel you have developed scombroid poisoning, take an anti-allergy medicine (antihistamine) containing diphenhydramine or cimetidine as directed on the bottle.

Call the Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for further treatment advice.

Call 911 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  •  © 2017