Caused by improper handling, preparation and/or storage of food products, food poisoning is a common ailment that, while frequently mild, can be a medical emergency. Symptoms usually onset within 48 hours of contact with or consumption of a contaminated food product.
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- Poison control center
Recognize that different types of food poisoning will cause different symptoms. They will vary in nature and severity, depending on what caused the food poisoning and the extent of the food borne infection.
Be aware that mild cases of food poisoning will generally not progress beyond digestive maladies such as abdominal pain, excessive flatulence and nausea. You should still seek the advice of a poison control counselor or doctor.
Know that more severe nausea, diarrhea and vomiting are almost invariably present in more serious cases of food poisoning. Head to the nearest emergency room if you recognize these symptoms.
Treat muscle or general bodily weakness, fatigue and shivering or trembling as signs of a serious case of food poisoning.
Recognize that headache and fever or flu-like symptoms are also often present when acute food poisoning has taken place. You can differentiate these symptoms from a regular fever or flu by their sudden onset. A normal flu or fever will come on slowly over a period of a few days.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these symptoms are accompanied by the presence of blood in feces. In fact, any case of bloody stool should be reported to a doctor, regardless of whether or not food poisoning is suspected as the cause.
Recognize that dehydration often results from vomiting and diarrhea. The dehydration caused by the symptoms of food poisoning must be carefully controlled since it poses its own set of health risks. Every effort should be made to keep the patient hydrated with fluids that contain electrolytes (necessary salts). Sports beverages are a good choice.
Know that skin lesions can appear in cases of food poisoning caused by raw or undercooked seafood. Such symptoms should be treated with extra caution.
Know the Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Tips and warnings
- Certain types of food poisoning, in particular E. Coli and botulism, are accompanied with more severe symptoms and can be life-threatening if untreated. Seek the advice of a poison control specialist or medical professional in all suspected cases of food poisoning.
- Exercise extra caution when traveling. Food poisoning frequently occurs when people not native to a country consume drinking water or food products that their bodies are unaccustomed to.