Top Five Reasons Scombroid Fish Poisoning Will Kill the Unprepared

Histamine

It’s an illness with potentially lethal consequences – so preppers need to see it coming. Scombroid Fish Poisoning occurs when a fresh catch isn’t kept below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, often due to a lack of ice. Here are five reasons you can bank on it becoming a whale of a problem:

#1 Scombroid Fish are Common 

The Scombridae family of fish includes many dark meat species like tuna, albacore, mackerel, and mahi-mahi. As a major food staple of many coastal and island people, the likelihood of ingesting poisoned fish goes up when food options are limited – as you know they will be in a disaster situation.

So What’s The Problem?

These species contain a naturally occurring and harmless substance called histidine. As long as the fish are kept refrigerated, this doesn’t become a problem. But during natural disasters, electricity is often the first service to go – and most fish are likely to get warm.

 

#2 No Electricity Means Warm Fish

They don’t have to warm up much. If the temperature of the fish rises to above 68 F, the histidine turns to histamineand that’s bad news.  Histamine is what our immune system releases to dilate blood vessels, in order to recruit other immune system cells to the area. When this happens throughout the body, it can cause a variety of allergic reactions with potentially fatal consequences.  These reactions can range from annoying hives – to Anaphylactic shock and death.

scombroid fish poisoning

 

Since no electricity means no ice, it’s not an accident there’s an increased incidence of this type of poisoning after earthquakes and other natural disasters. The same set of conditions are likely going to apply to preppers when the world skips sideways and back-flips.

Histamine

 

#3 People Often Overlook Food as an Allergen

Preppers are familiar with the typical signs and symptoms of food poisoning. Abdominal pain with nausea, vomiting, and all the rest are well known. But when a person starts to swell with hives, and begins having serious trouble breathing, how many people think of their food as being the cause? Not many. Instead we associate these symptoms with external allergens like pollen, or something serious in the air or environment. This makes it easy to overlook fish as being the culprit, and opens up the possibility of ingesting more toxin at the next meal. As the effects of histamine are cumulative, a second dose might be the final blow from which there is no return!

 

#4 Scombroid Fish Poisoning Cannot be Smelled or Easily Tasted 

Unlike most fish that has gone south, the converted histamine in Scombroid species cannot be smelled. But there are reports there is something fishy about it. It’s said to have a peppery taste by some who survived to tell about it. Though that is hardly a reliable sign.

 

#5 People Don’t Know About it!

In order to prepare for a threat, you first have to know it exists. Since this condition is rarely seen outside of natural disasters and cataclysms, the general public hasn’t a clue of it’s existence. By the time they find out, it will likely be to late.

 

Take Home Message:  To avoid Scombroid Fish Poisoning, discard fish that have been left in the sun for more than 2 hours.  Remember that you cannot tell if the fish is bad by its odor or appearance.  Nor is it altered by cooking or freezing after the fact.  If you must eat something – go slow.  The fish is said to have a peppery taste by those unfortunate enough to have experienced it.

Have you ever suffered from this type of poisoning?

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