Fish Poisoning–Ciguatera Poisoning


Ciguatera is a kind of food poisoning, specifically, fish poisoning. The toxin present in the fish may be located in big reel fish where majority of it are grouper, amberjack, Spanish mackerel, eel, red snapper, sea bass and barracuda. These fish exist in seas between latitudes of 35 degrees north to 35 degrees south which correspond to the part located between Tropic of Capricorn and Tropic of Cancer. These parts also include Hawaii, the coast of Central America and Caribbean Sea.

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Ciguatera Toxin

Ciguatera toxin has the tendency to gather within predator fish like the barracuda and other reef fish that are carnivorous. This toxin is completely harmless to fish but poisonous when consumed by humans. It is hard to determine which reef fish has consumed ciguatera toxin since it is tasteless and odorless. Worst is that the toxin has resistance to heat so cooking the fish will not wipe out the toxin. So when humans eat subtropical or tropical fish that are contaminated with ciguatera toxin they will be poisoned.

Symptoms of Fish Poisoning

Normally, the symptoms will begin after 6 to 8 hours of consuming the fish contaminated with the ciguatera toxin.

• Vertigo

• Dizziness

• Abdominal pain

• Tingling sensation

• Numbness

• Muscle pain

• Diarrhea

• Vomiting

• Nausea

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Severe cases of Fish poisoning may bring about the following symptoms:

• paralysis

• itching

• rashes

• chills

• teary eyes

• salivation

• shortness of breath

• In rare cases, death results due to respiratory or heart failure.

Majority of those affected by toxin-contaminated fish are amongst the coastal areas of America such as Connecticut, Washington, New York, Florida and Hawaii. Most of the symptoms are related to allergic reaction but this does not mean that the patient showing such symptoms are generally allergic to fish.

Treatment for Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

There is no recorded medicine that will cure the poisoning although it is not life threatening when immediately treated. If you feel that you are poisoned by a contaminated fish, contact an ambulance or an expert with poisons to deal with the matter. There are centers dedicated to controlling poison so it is best to look for them. They will guide you on what you should do.

• Do not use Ipecac for first aids and do not stimulate vomiting. Ipecac was previously used for inducing vomiting in patients who are poisoned since the chance of removing the poison is done through vomiting. Reputable organizations have already advised households neither to keep Ipecac in their household nor to use them.

• Do not self-medicate as there are other medications that may encourage and heighten the pain of the patient. Leave it to the medical personnel to handle the matter.

• Itching maybe relieved by taking in antihistamine such as Benadryl.

• Keep the body of the patient hydrated all the time. Intravenous liquids may be needed for uncontrollable vomiting and nausea.

Fish poisoning is not life threatening in most cases but it is always best to seek medical attention at once by the time you suspect someone or yourself for consuming ciguatera-contaminated fish.

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