Food Poisoning from Shellfish
Types of shellfish food poisoning
There are four types of shellfish poisoning. These are:
- Amnestic shellfish poisoning: This is a strange type of shellfish poisoning which starts with diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, followed by short-term loss of memory loss and other neurologic problems.
- Paralytic shellfish poisoning: Half an hour after digging into a delicious but tainted shellfish meal, you begin to suffer from paralytic shellfish poisoning if you display symptoms like tingling in the mouth or numbness, spreading to your limbs. You may also be dizzy, have a headache and suffer temporary paralysis in the arms and legs, besides vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning: If you’ve had a meal of tainted mussels or clams, you will experience nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, tingling or numbness in the mouth, dizziness, headache and you will feel hot and cold alternately.
- Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning: The chief syndrome here is diarrhea, accompanied by vomiting, stomach cramps and nausea. Again, within half an hour of eating the meal of infected shellfish, you go through its classic symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting, leading to possible dehydration.
Treatment: If the victim is dehydrated, give him a lot of liquids to restore his electrolyte content. To clear your stomach of toxins, stomach pumping may be necessary and should be done by a doctor who may also prescribe antibiotics. Vomiting can be induced if the patient has eaten the shellfish within the past three hours. Nausea should be controlled by giving IV fluids.
Prevention: To avoid any further bouts of shellfish poisoning, do not eat shellfish exposed to red tides. They are usually set off by toxic plankton and reproduce large-scale, causing water to turn reddish-brown.
Ensure that the shellfish is cooked at the right temperature and that the food handlers are working with clean hands and use clean dishes and utensils.