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Wilderness: Scombroid Poisoning (cont.)

How is Scombroid Poisoning Diagnosed?

Presumptive diagnosis is usually made on clinical observation of the above symptoms together with the history of eating food (usually fish) a short time before the symptoms occurred. Additional supportive evidence is indicated by the person's response to treatment (discussed below). Definitive diagnosis is performed infrequently with a test that detects abnormally high histamine levels in samples of fish that the person ingested.

How Is Scombroid Poisoning Treated?

Many doctors suggest that induced vomiting may help remove the poison if the poisoned person is awake and alert and has recently eaten the fish (or other food) within the past 3 hours. Oral charcoal may be used in some patients that are seen early after ingestion of large amounts of food likely containing significant amounts of scombroid poison. Some doctors recommend that the stomach should be pumped to remove foods before charcoal is administered. Moreover, patients are often given IV fluids as they may become dehydrated from vomiting.

Scombroid poisoning can be treated with diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25 to 50 mg given orally (or initially by IV) every 6 hours and one ranitidine (Zantac) tablet twice a day as needed to reduce or stop symptoms.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/30/2016

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Toxicity, Scombroid »

Scombroid fish poisoning (scombrotoxism, scombroid ichthyotoxicosis) is a food-related illness typically associated with the consumption of fish.

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