Why did this fish make our mouths itchy?

On Saturday, we picked up some “shad planks” at the fishmonger’s and kept them refrigerated until Sunday evening, when I baked them with olive oil, salt, and spices.

When we started eating them, however, we noticed that our mouths started feeling itchy, and three days later, my wife feels like she’s having a strong allergic reaction.

We both have some allergies, but neither of us has any fish-related allergies that we know of. What might be going on here?

How many people reacted, just you and your wife?

3 days seems like a long time to have a strong allergic reaction.

Yes, all both of us who ate the fish reacted.

ALL both of you? Did you do a recount to be sure??
But seriously, depending on what the fish was exposed to , your reaction could be coming from that. I know I ate so many Great Lakes mussels one summer I started to show signs of mercury exposure from the delicious little organisms.
If I were you I’d find a fishmonger w/ a different supplier if possible.

You can develop an allergy any time in your life, so that could happen. You said, your wife didn’t itch till three days later? Or are you saying you both had the itchy feeling and your wife still has it three days later?

You could get some Benadryl, over the counter and if the itchy feeling goes away you pretty much got your answer. Warning Benadryl is very good but will make you very sleepy, especially if you’re not used to it. So don’t take it if you plan to drive.

Also don’t rule out it could be something else in the fish.

Sounds very much like scromboid poisoning.

Some fish can produce histamines as they begin to decompose, which can happen quite quickly.


Heh. Cadaverine and putrescine. I like those words.

Very descriptive names!

In other words the fish was rotting. :wink:

acsenray, when you say ‘shad planks’ do you mean that the fish came on a little cedar board that you bake it on in the oven?

I know it is common to ‘plank’ salmon where I live. Supposed to give the fish a smokey, something.

If the answer is yes, it is probably the cedar that is causing the itchiness.

Scombrotoxin is a good possibility. Also, the waters where the fish was caught can make a difference. The fish will pick up anything in the water. The fish might also have been in contact with other fish that or substances you are allergic to during handling. Shad can also be caught in river inlets where they mix with fresh water fish and various biology not found in the open sea. Many people get allergic reactions from seafood that is not really due to the particular fish they are eating. Unfortunately, many people seem to develop a seafood allergy at some point even when they’ve never had a problem before. Since both of you experienced the same symptoms, it’s an indicator of something other than an allergy to shad or seafood in general.

BTW: Who noticed the symptoms first? There’s a possibility one of you is having an actual reaction, and the other is sympathetically symptomatic.

It was just slices of shad that were labeled with the term “shad planks.” I didn’t see any wood anywhere. I would have called them filets, but I think filets are supposed to be deboned.

Are you on the West coast?

It must be radiationz! :eek:

Yep, twice.

Thanks for the advice, all. There’s no diarrhoea or other severe reactions, so I’m going to try administering Benadryl … hmmm … It’ll have to be tomorrow night, though. Things are too hectic right now for drowsiness.

Also, we’ve bought a lot of fish and seafood from this dealer in the past, and have been quite pleased with the quality of the goods, so I think I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on this one. Probably avoid “shad planks” in the future, though.

I’ve heard of over-ripe fish being soaked in bleach to disguise or eliminate that “bad-fish” smell. Could that cause such a reaction?

I would think the smell/taste of bleach would be distinctive enough to know better.

Well, it couldn’t be pure bleach. I’m guessing it would be a 5% or 10% solution.

‘How’s the salmon?’

‘I thought it was whitefish!’