Food Poisoning


What is food poisoning and what causes it? Food poisoning is when you get sick after you eat contaminated food. Bacteria, such as listeria, salmonella, or E coli, may cause food poisoning. Viruses, such as rotavirus, and parasites, such as giardia, may also cause food poisoning. The exact cause of your food poisoning may not be known. Food poisoning most commonly happens when you eat raw or undercooked food. Meat, seafood, produce, and dairy products are common foods that can become contaminated.

What increases my risk for food poisoning?

What are the signs and symptoms of food poisoning? You may have any of the following:

How is food poisoning diagnosed? Your caregiver will ask you to describe your symptoms and list the foods you have eaten recently. He will ask when you last ate, and where you were. He will want to know if anyone who ate with you is also sick. Your caregiver will examine your abdomen and check for signs of dehydration. Dehydration can happen if you have diarrhea or are vomiting. You may also need the following:

How is food poisoning treated? The following can help ease your symptoms:

What are the risks of food poisoning? Diarrhea or vomiting can make you dehydrated. Dehydration can be very serious for children, older adults, and anyone with a weak immune system. Watch a young child closely because he can become dehydrated quickly. Ask your caregiver for more information about the risks of food poisoning.

How can food poisoning be prevented? Follow these rules at home to prevent food poisoning:

When should I follow up with my caregiver? Your symptoms should go away in 2 to 5 days. Follow up with your caregiver if your symptoms are not going away after 2 days of treatment.

When should I contact my caregiver? Contact your caregiver if:

When should I seek immediate help? Seek care immediately if your vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain continue and you develop the following new symptoms:


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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