Abdominal cramping can be one of the first signs of food poisoning. Heating pads, herbal tea or ginger ale can help ease the pain, but avoid coffee or alcohol, which can cause further irritation and also lead to dehydration. Call the doctor if your pain doesn't subside within 48 hours—but if you have sudden, severe pain, seek medical help immediately.
Nausea and queasiness is a common symptom of food poisoning. It is often accompanied by vomiting or the urge to vomit. Ginger tea is a good homemade remedy for nausea, or try an OTC med like Dramamine or Pepto-Bismol. As with any medications, check with your doctor first, if you have allergies, or if you are pregnant or nursing.
If you are suffering from food poisoning, you may experience frequent, loose stools because of the toxins in your digestive system. Diarrhea can lead to dangerous levels of dehydration, so make sure to keep hydrated with water or Gatorade and seek medical attention if your symptoms are severe. Also, ask your doctor about probiotics to restore healthy bacteria in your gut.
Seek medical attention, if you notice blood in your vomit or stools, as this may signal a more serious level of food poisoning like E. coli. Young children and older adults are at greater risk of developing a life-threatening form of E. coli that can lead to kidney failure.
As your body fights off the toxins in your body, you may develop a slight fever. Typically, a fever caused by food poisoning is low-grade. Check your temperature regularly, and if it goes over 101 degrees, consult with your doctor.
It is normal to experience loss of appetite when you've had food poisoning. However, if your inability to eat or drink lasts for more than 12 hours and is accompanied by symptoms of dehydration, such as low urine output, dry mouth, increased thirst, lethargy and dizziness and/or a temperature over 100.3°F, seek immediate medical attention as this could signal a more serious condition.
Vomiting is one of the more typical and early signs of food poisoning. While uncomfortable, it's also one of the ways the body tries to expels toxins. However, repeated vomiting can lead to severe dehydration, so drink sufficient amounts of water and call your doctor if your inability to keep food and liquids down lasts more than 12 hours.
Like with many illnesses, you may feel weak and extremely tired when suffering from food poisoning. Dehydration and a reduced food and liquid intake will add to your feelings of fatigue, so make sure to give your body plenty of rest. However, if your weakness becomes severe or is accompanied by tingling in the arms, seek immediate medical attention.
Because your body is dehydrated, you may experience headaches while battling food poisoning. They are usually mild and can be treated with an OTC medication but if the pain becomes severe and is accompanied by feelings of confusion, blurred vision or neck stiffness seek medical help immediately.
Again, loss of body fluids is usually the culprit when it comes to feeling dizzy or light headed during a bout of food poisoning. Stay hydrated and limit your activity, and call your doctor if your condition worsens or is accompanied by other symptoms like blurred vision or extreme muscle weakness.
In some cases, viral food poisoning may cause a condition called reactive arthritis, a form of arthritis that occurs as a reaction to inflammation in the intestine. Symptoms may occur 2 to 4 weeks after initial infection, and can include mouth ulcers, fever and weight loss in addition to joint pain. Consult with your doctor to get a diagnosis based on your symptoms and conditions of the original contamination.
Many of the symptoms of food poisoning mimic those of the flu, but if you are pregnant, take extra caution. A very severe form of food poisoning called Listeriosis can produce flu-like symptoms in pregnant women and infection can lead to premature delivery or stillbirth. The elderly or immunocompromised are also at risk of developing bacteremia or meningitis.
Repeated vomiting and diarrhea can lead to the loss of water and vital salts and minerals from your body which can lead to dehydration. While this is a serious complication of food poisoning, a normal healthy adult should be able to replace their fluids through water consumption. However, infants, older adults and those who are immunosuppressed can become severely dehydrated and may need to be hospitalized to receive intravenous fluids.
According to the Mayo Clinic, neurological symptoms such as blurry vision, muscle weakness and tingling in the arms can be signs of a more serious medical condition and require immediate medical attention. This underscores the importance of keeping track of your symptoms and their duration in order to determine if your food poisoning has developed into a more serious condition.
If your symptoms of food poisoning also include blurred or double vision or difficulty in swallowing, seek medical attention — it could possibly be botulism, a very serious and potentially fatal form of food poisoning. Botulism often occurs after eating improperly canned foods (especially home-canned vegetables) fermented fish and potatoes that were baked in aluminum foil.
Jaundice — the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes — can occur when a person has contracted Hepatitis A from contaminated food. While rare, it is contagious and can be spread from person to person or be contracted from food or water. Symptoms of hepatitis A don't usually appear until around 28 days after first contracting the virus, but can start as early as two weeks after the initial infection. Consult your doctor if you notice signs of jaundice or suspect you may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.
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