Oysters have been a cherished delicacy and even though they are usually eaten cooked, they are also eaten raw. If an individual ends up with a stomach ache after a few hours up to a few days of consuming raw oysters, he/she might require medical care. Always bear in mind that the abdominal pain might be a result of an allergic reaction or due to food poisoning. In most circumstances, the pain will eventually go away, but it is still best to consult a doctor just to stay safe.
If an individual is highly sensitive to oysters, he/she might have mollusk allergy. It simply means that other bivalves such as mussels and clams as well as cephalopods (squid and octopus) are dangerous to eat.
An allergy to oysters can also instigate abdominal pain, possibly making the individual believe that he/she has food poisoning. If the individual regularly experiences abdominal pain after consuming shellfish, it is best to schedule an appointment with a doctor in order to determine if he/she has a food allergy.
The typical cause of food poisoning due to oysters is the vibrio bacteria. The most prevalent in this genus include the vibrio vulnificus and vibrio parahaemolyticus. Take note that both are capable of causing abdominal pain.
Both of these bacteria can survive well in warm waters and even in coastal areas. This is the reason why those who produce oysters should pay close attention to the potential for infection that can occur even in sanitary conditions.
What are the associated symptoms?
Once the individual experiences abdominal pain, it is best to consult a doctor to be safe. On the other hand, in most circumstances, the individual will also end up with other symptoms. When it comes to a food allergy, other symptoms include difficulty breathing as well as swelling in the lips, mouth and throat and even dizziness.
In case of a vibrio bacterial infection, the individual will end up with diarrhea, fever, chills, vomiting, headache and even low blood pressure. The symptoms of vibrio parahaemolyticus infection can manifest within 24 hours and last for up to 3 days after the infection.
Additional facts on raw oysters
It is important to note that the growing conditions for the oysters as well as the finished products are subject to strict regulations which helps make raw oysters safer to eat. Avoid eating raw oysters if the individual has liver disease or a weakened immune system since exposure to vibrio vulnificus can be life-threatening.
The chances for a severe infection of vibrio parahaemolyticus are also heightened for individuals who have compromised immune systems. Raw oysters are not suitable for pregnant women as well. Even though there is widespread belief in their effectiveness, hot sauce and alcohol which are popular condiments for raw oysters are not capable of eliminating any deadly bacteria. When it comes to colder waters, they are less desirable for the vibrio bacteria to thrive, but infection is still possible.