There are two pretty good ways to get food poisoning from eating fish. Anyone who eats fish can get ciguatera or scombroid poisoning. Fish poisoning is more common in coastal areas. So take care.
Ciguatera poisoning: This happens when you eat a reef fish (any fish living in warm tropical water) that has eaten a certain poisonous food. This poison does not go away when the fish is cooked or frozen.
Scombroid poisoning: A substance called Histamine builds up in some fish when they get too warm after they’re caught. Histamine is a chemical that serves as a kind of alarm to let your immune system know that an infection is attacking part of the body. If you eat a fish that was not properly cooled after it was caught, you may react to the histamine that is released into your body.
Okay, lets say you got poisoned. What exactly are the symptoms? The first symptoms of ciguatera poisoning include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms can then progress to headache, muscle aches and skin that is itchy, numb or tingly. You may notice a change in your ability to feel hot or cold temperatures. For example, you may think something feels hot when it is actually cold.
Symptoms of scombroid poisoning will usually develop 20 to 30 minutes after you eat the affected fish. They can include flushing (turning red) of the face, nausea, vomiting, hives and abdominal pain. These symptoms are similar to other allergic reactions. However, getting scombroid poisoning does not mean you are allergic to fish.
Do not be alarmed. Do not panic. Ciguatera and scombroid poisoning are rarely fatal. Rarely :D. So how do you get treatment? Ciguatera poisoning is treated with medicines that help ease your symptoms. There is no medicine that will cure ciguatera poisoning. The symptoms will go away on their own over time. Phew! The symptoms of ciguatera poisoning can last for 1 to 2 weeks. Exactly how long they last will depend on the amount of poison you have in your body. The symptoms can come back any time you eat an affected fish.
Scombroid poisoning on the other hand is treated using an antihistamine (one brand name: Benadryl). An antihistamine is a medicine that blocks the histamine in your blood. The symptoms of scombroid poisoning usually last for 24 hours or less. The symptoms can come back any time you eat fish that has not been refrigerated properly.
To avoid getting poisoned, there is a few simple steps. To avoid ciguatera poisoning, don't eat the fish that commonly carry the poison. This includes Amberjack, Grouper, Snapper, Sturgeon, King Mackerel, Barracuda and Moray Eel. The poison is more concentrated in a fish’s internal organs, so you should never eat those parts of a fish. Why do you wanna eat those things anyway?
To avoid scombroid poisoning, don't eat any fish that has not been refrigerated properly. Be especially careful when you eat fish such as Tuna, Sardines, Mackerel, Mahi-Mahi or Anchovies. So refrigerate your fish properly and your safe!