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Marine toxins are chemicals
and bacteria that can contaminate certain types of seafood. Eating the seafood
may result in
food poisoning. The seafood may look, smell, and taste
normal. There are five common types of marine toxins, and they all cause
Food poisoning through marine toxins is rare.
poisoning occurs most often in the summer.
Your doctor will do a medical history and a physical exam
and ask you questions about your symptoms and any fish you have recently eaten.
Laboratory testing is typically not needed.
There are no specific
treatments for marine toxin poisoning. Treatment generally consists of managing
complications and being supportive until the illness passes.
Dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting is the
most common complication.
To prevent dehydration, take
frequent sips of a rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Try to drink a cup of water or rehydration drink for each large,
loose stool you have. Soda
and fruit juices have too much sugar and not enough of the important
electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea, and they
should not be used to rehydrate.
Try to stay with your normal diet
as much as possible. Eating your usual diet will help you to get enough
nutrition. Doctors believe that eating a normal diet will also help you feel
better faster. But try to avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. Also
avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and coffee for 2 days after all symptoms have
keep seafood refrigerated or on ice. If you have a
weak immune system, you should consider not eating raw
To help avoid marine toxins:
Scombrotoxic fish poisoning:
Amnesic shellfish poisoning:
October 18, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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