Food Poisoning of Shrimps: Symptom, Treatment and Prevention

Shrimps are very delicious and most of us love them regardless if eating shrimps as a shrimp cocktail or as part of an elegant meal. Fresh and well-cooked shrimps should be part of the diet. However, when it comes to contaminated shrimps, shrimp food poisoning will develop, leading to stomach pain and discomfort, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Some of the symptoms caused by a food poisoning can be quite severe and even life-threatening ones. How to identify a food poisoning after eating contaminated shrimps?

Symptoms of Food Poisoning from Shrimps

Usually, the signs and symptoms of a food poisoning from shrimps start a couple of hours after consuming them and even up to a few days. The severity of the signs and symptoms depends from one person to the other. Common signs and symptoms of food poisoning from shrimps include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Melena
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Numbness of the extremities

Causes of Food Poisoning from Shrimps

Shrimps are very popular among seafood. However, a person should be very careful when consuming them. Common causes of shrimp food poisoning include:

  • Chemical contents in the shrimps
  • Tinted and packed shrimps with no expiration date
  • Contaminated shrimps usually exported from other countries
  • Shrimps affected by bacteria and other microorganisms

Treatment of Food Poisoning from Shrimp


As mentioned, the severity of food poisoning varies from one person to the other. However, if a food poisoning from shrimps is suspected or diagnosed, drinking plenty of fluids, rest and a modification of the diet are necessary. Drinking plenty of fluids is very important as it will prevent a person from getting dehydrated due to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

A balanced diet for a couple of days is also important and part of the treatment. Rice, white toast, bananas, apples, or plain yogurt should be consumed during a couple of days until you fully recover. If the signs and symptoms improve, adding other types of food such as boiled potatoes, cooked carrots, crackers, etc., will help you recover faster.


The risk of getting a shrimp food poisoning is greater in cases when you consume shrimps from the buffet line or if you consume raw shrimps. Elderly people, infants, and children, pregnant women, as well as, those who have pre-existing medical conditions have a greater risk of getting a food poisoning. In such cases, it is necessary to contact the healthcare provider immediately.

Even though food poisoning typically resolves on its own within a couple of hours or even days, sometimes the signs and symptoms of a food poisoning can be severe and even life-threatening ones. For this reason, it is very important to get the necessary medical treatment on time.

How to Avoid Food Poisoning from Shrimps

Here are some tips which can be helpful whenever you buy shrimps or order them at a restaurant in order to avoid shrimp food poisoning:

  • Smell the shrimps before buying them. You can’t smell packed shrimps so try to purchase them from over-the-counter markets. If the shrimps have a slightly salty smell, then they are fresh and ok to be consumed. If the shrimps have ammonia like smell, then they are probably not fresh and not consumable. Ammonia like smell is a sign of bacteria presence, meaning that these shrimps are contaminated and can easily lead to a food poisoning.
  • If the shrimps are still attached to the clean and clear shell, then they are fresh and eatable. However, if the shrimps have black spots on their shells or if the shrimps are loose in their shells, then they are probably spoiled and should not be consumed.
  • If the shell of the shrimps appears yellow or gritty, then these shrimps are not fresh. In such cases, various chemicals are used to keep the shrimps fresh. Avoid consuming these kinds of shrimps as they can lead to a food poisoning.
  • Raw shrimps should be white and slightly transparent. On the other hand, cooked shrimps should be pink. If they have a different color, then don’t consume them as they are probably spoiled.
  • The eyes of the shrimps should be shiny and prominent, another sign which will tell you that the shrimps are fresh and safe to be consumed. In cases when the eyes of the shrimps look dried and shrunken, avoid eating these shrimps.
  • Don’t eat or prepare shrimps when the date has expired.
  • Don’t eat or prepare shrimps if you don’t know their expiration date, or if in cases of packed shrimps no expiry date is provided.
  • Don’t keep shrimps near other raw or cooked foods as they can get easily contaminated and spoiled.
  • Don’t keep the shrimps at room temperature for a long time.