September 28, 2022

When Should You Call the Doctor If You Have Food Poisoning?

We talk about food poisoning all the time on this site. We have told you about the different pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes, what foods they are likely to contaminate, and the symptoms of the infections those pathogens cause. But there’s one question that needs to be answered: When should you call the doctor if you have food poisoning?

When Should You Call the Doctor If You Have Food Poisoning?


Of course, call your doctor if you are worried about anything pertaining to your health. But there are specific symptoms that the government says you should look for when you have food poisoning that should trigger an immediate call.

First of all, there are certain groups that should always call if they contract a food poisoning infection. They include adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, parents of kids younger than five, anyone with a chronic illness such as diabetes, and anyone with a weakened immune system such as cancer patients. Those people are more likely to develop a serious complication if they get sick.

Having said that, there are some symptoms that warrant a doctor’s call or a visit to the emergency room or urgent care. They are: a high fever (temperature more than 102°F), diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving, bloody stools or bloody diarrhea, prolonged vomiting so the patient can’t keep liquids down, and signs of dehydration (making very little urine, dry mouth and throat, and dizziness when standing up.)

These symptoms can indicate conditions such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), sepsis (blood infection) or dehydration. All of those conditions require immediate medical care.

So protect your family by following food safety rules in the kitchen. Learn how to handle potentially hazardous foods. Keep track of food recalls and especially food outbreak investigations from the FDA, USDA, and CDC. And learn the common symptoms of food poisoning.


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