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Food Poisoning Symptoms and Treatment

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Food Poisoning Symptoms and Treatment

Food poisoning is caused by viruses and bacteria that live in uncooked, ill-prepared or unsanitary food. While food is one of the main culprits of foodborne illnesses, individuals can also end up sick from washing their food with contaminated water or drinking untreated liquids.

Food and beverages are directly ingested, providing germs a direct path into our system to irritate and result in sickness. Foodborne illnesses cause millions of people across America to get sick each year, but recovery happens within a few days. However, in some cases, food poisoning can lead to hospitalization.

While foodborne illnesses can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites and germs, it isn't contagious like the stomach flu (which is often mistaken for food poisoning), and their symptoms can vary. Food poisoning is mainly uncomfortable, and an inconvenience, but fortunately, treatment can help calm the stomach, alleviate signs of the illness and help with a quick recovery.

Food Poisoning Treatment

With most foodborne illnesses, there isn't an antibiotic or medicinal treatment to help cure the sickness. Instead, it's an ailment that must pass through the body, typically through expelling the bacteria causing the discomfort. Yet, there are things you can do to help relieve the discomfort until it passes.

Eating again might not sound like the most beneficial thing, and it's good to take eating slowly. Avoiding solid or rich foods can deter vomiting, and if you find yourself hungry, stick with a very bland diet that has no spices or irritating components that will further upset the stomach.

For example, the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) diet is a great way to maintain nutrients without exposing the stomach to ingredients that might further agitate the discomfort. The BRAT diet is not a long-term plan and should not be followed for more than two days; it's only meant to temporarily help the stomach and bowel rest from food poisoning or other stomach issues

Additionally, it's critical to keep yourself hydrated. As your body rids itself of the foodborne illness, it loses liquids from vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating, resulting in dehydration. Drink water or electrolytes in small doses. If you find it challenging to keep liquids down, consider chewing on ice and gradually increasing the amount of liquid intake throughout the day.

While anti-nausea or anti-diarrhea medication may help with food poisoning, there are side effects to these medicines. You should talk to your doctor before taking them to avoid exacerbating symptoms of food poisoning.

Contaminants Causing Food Poisoning

Figuring out whatever food gave you food poisoning isn't always a possibility. It's easy to chalk it up to last night's dinner, but common viruses are often the culprit of your upset stomach and can be attributed to the food you ate hours, or sometimes days, prior.

Common bacteria and viruses that cause foodborne illness include:

  • Norovirus.
  • Salmonella.
  • Clostridium perfringens.
  • Campylobacter.
  • E. coli.
  • Listeria.
  • Botulism.
  • Hepatitis A.
  • Staphylococcus aureus.

These pathogens often lead to the usual symptoms of stomach cramps and diarrhea, but special cases may lead to hospitalization.

If you feel your condition is a true emergency, call 911 immediately. If you're experiencing extreme pain or food poisoning, seek medical attention and visit ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care.

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care aims to provide the highest level of care and service.

The combined emergency room and urgent care is equipped to handle almost every kind of medical emergency. The emergency room is open 24/7, and the urgent care clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. No appointments are required—walk-ins welcome.

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care has one convenient location:

  • 1075 Medical Center Parkway, Maumee, OH 43537