Do You Know The Symptoms and Treatment for Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning can occur when you eat or drink something that is contaminated with harmful bacteria which have multiplied, either from poor handling, improper cooking, or poor food storage. There are specific foods that are most likely to cause foodborne illness, such as undercooked seafood products, undercooked deli meats and ground beef, unpasteurized milk, cheese, and juice raw, and unwashed fruits and vegetables. In addition, other factors such as parasites, toxins, chemicals, and viruses, can also contaminate food during the production and processing phase.
Who's at Risk For Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning can negatively impact most individuals. However, certain demographics are more prone to foodborne illnesses than others, such as:
1. People with weakened immune systems
3. People with Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
4. People undergoing chemotherapy for cancer
5. Pregnant women
What Are The Common Symptoms of food poisoning?
The symptoms of food poisoning can vary depending on the source of the infection. Most types of food poisoning cause one or more of the following symptoms:
2. Watery diarrhea
3. Loss of appetite
5. Stomach cramps
7. Mild fever
Food poisoning symptoms that are potentially life-threatening include:
1. Diarrhea that lasts for more than three days
2. A fever greater than 102°F
3. Difficulty seeing or speaking
4. Symptoms of severe dehydration
5. Bloody urine
You must immediately contact a doctor or seek medical treatment if you notice or experience these severe symptoms.
Food poisoning First Aid
In the event you suspect someone has food poisoning, please follow the guidelines below:
A. Advise them to lie down. If they vomit, give them small sips of water to drink, which will help prevent dehydration.
B. If they have accompanying diarrhea, replacing lost fluids and salts is vital. You can advise them to take an ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) as directed on the packet from your local pharmacy.
C. When they feel hungry, advise them to eat light, bland food easily digested, such as bread, rice, crackers, or a banana.
D. Do not drink caffeine, alcohol, or fizzy drinks.
E. If the symptoms worsen and the vomiting and diarrhea persist, seek medical advice.
F. Do not take anti-diarrhea medicines unless specifically advised by a healthcare professional.
G. Children with food poisoning should avoid dairy products and drink plenty of fluids.
When To Call EMS?
There are two ways to get help from food poisoning in the United States – the Emergency Medical Services team or the Poison Control Center. They are excellent resources for poisoning information and, in many situations, may advise that in-home observation is all that’s needed. You should Call 911 immediately if the victim of food poisoning is:
1. Drowsy, unconscious, or not breathing
2. Having seizures
3. Having difficulty breathing
4. Uncontrollably restless or agitated
5. Known to have taken medications or any other substance overdosed.
If the person is stable and has no symptoms or if the person is going to be transported to the local emergency department, you should call the Poison Control Center. When speaking with the poison control center, be ready to describe the person’s symptoms, age, weight, other medications they are taking, and other information you have about the poison. It would be best to know the amount ingested and how long since the person was exposed to it. If possible, have the pill bottle, medication package, or other suspect containers on hand to refer to its label.
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Dr. Tracy A. Jones is the CEO of Help-A-Heart CPR, LLC and an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.