It would be a safe bet to say that at some point or another, most people have experienced a stomach ache. Sometimes it’s due to overeating, other times it may be due to gas. But when do you know if your symptoms are a sign of food poisoning, and what can you do about it?
What is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning occurs when you eat something that is contaminated with bacteria and your intestines become inflamed as a result. The most common bacteria that cause food poisoning are Salmonella, E. Colli, and Listeria, and they can end up in food by either not cooking them properly, leaving perishables unrefrigerated for too long, or coming into contact with fecal matter (which can happen any time a person handles food without first washing their hands).
The foods most commonly associated with food poisoning include eggs, meat, poultry, unpasteurized milk, and unwashed produce.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Signs of food poisoning are easy to recognize and can last anywhere between several hours to a day or two. They include the following:
These symptoms can also be confused with a stomach virus. However, viruses come with additional symptoms, such as weakness and dizziness which can last for up to a week.
In addition, food poisoning is easy to recognize if anyone who ate the same food you ate is also experiencing the same or similar symptoms.
Treatment for Food Poisoning
Most people will get food poisoning at some point in their lives. Because it’s so common, it can often be treated with home remedies by resting, staying hydrated, and drinking electrolytes (you can do this by consuming coconut water or sports drinks).
If symptoms persist for more than a day and the thought of food puts you off, you can stick with bland items so that you can at least consume some nourishment, such as:
- Saltine crackers
- Mashed potatoes
Do prioritize resting and hydration, as these two elements are essential for you to recover as soon as possible.
When to Go to the ER for Food Poisoning
Food poisoning often heals on its own within 48 hours or less. If you’ve been feeling sick for longer than that, seek medical attention immediately, as it could be a sign of infection.
Also seek emergency attention if you’re pregnant or already have a weakened immune system due to conditions such as cancer, HIV, liver disease, or lupus. In addition, any of these symptoms could be a sign of a more serious medical condition:
- Fever that’s higher than 100
- Blood in your bowel movements
- You feel dehydrated (dry mouth and/or excessive thirst)
- Frequent vomiting
- Intense or extreme stomach pain
- Vomiting blood
- Difficulties breathing
- Rapid heart rate
Do not ignore these symptoms; in the most severe cases, people with food poisoning do required hospitalization. Your symptoms may also be an indication of a more serious medical condition.
24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas
If you’re not feeling well, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.
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