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Shrimp food poisoning signs

Updated July 19, 2017

Shrimp, whether served in the form of a shrimp cocktail or as part of an elegant meal, is a popular and flavourful food. But eating contaminated shrimp can lead to food poisoning, and that means trouble--stomach pain and vomiting, among other symptoms. Some of the symptoms can be potentially life-threatening. There are several ways to identify a case of food poisoning caused by eating bad shrimp.

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Shrimp contaminated with bacteria or other toxins causes food poisoning, but you might not realise you ate tainted food until sometime afterward, when you develop a headache, diarrhoea or other symptoms. Specific symptoms depend on which exact bacteria contaminated the shrimp. In general, however, additional signs of shrimp food poisoning include dizziness, stomachache and muscle weakness. You could experience paralysis, tremor or a numb sensation in the lips, tongue, arms or legs. The toxins in the shrimp also might cause you to have problems swallowing or talking. Food poisoning also can cause blood in the stool, as well as problems with your sight, including double vision or blurred vision. Symptoms of shrimp food poisoning could emerge anywhere from a half hour to several days after you eat contaminated shrimp. Most commonly, the signs will start to appear within 12 to 72 hours.


Seek medical care if symptoms are severe. A particular danger is paralysis that can affect your ability to breathe. A health care provider might opt to use activated charcoal to filter the toxins out of your body. Treatments also could include antibiotics or other prescription drugs. Otherwise, a key to getting better involves keeping yourself hydrated by drinking water and other liquids to replenish the fluids and electrolytes you have lost because of the illness.


Food poisoning caused by shrimp often can be avoided. Here are some tips: Quickly refrigerate any shrimp you do not plan to eat immediately. Avoid eating shrimp if you are not sure how long it has been sitting in an unrefrigerated environment. Wash your hands often while cooking or serving shrimp. When handling multiple types of food, make sure that any juices from meat or seafood do not come into contact with ready-to-eat items. Check whether cooked shrimp has been prepared at the proper temperature.

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About the Author

Adriana Colindres has been a professional writer since 1986. Her work has been published in several Midwestern news outlets—in print and online. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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