July 12, 2024

When Should You See a Doctor if You Get Food Poisoning?

When should you see a doctor when you get food poisoning? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information you need to know.

When Should You See a Doctor if You Get Food Poisoning?

First, you need to know the symptoms of common foodborne pathogens, such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, norovirus, Staphylococcus, and Campylobacter. Most pathogens cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea that can be bloody, fever, nausea, stomach and abdominal pain, and muscle aches. Listeria is a bit different: the serious symptoms for that infection include a high fever, stiff neck, and severe headache.

Some people should always see a doctor if they get sick, even if symptoms aren’t very severe. That group includes pregnant women, the elderly, anyone with a chronic illness such as diabetes, and people who have compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients. People in that group can have serious complications from any infection.

The five signs of severe food poisoning include bloody diarrhea, diarrhea that lasts longer than three days, fever that is higher than 102°F, vomiting so often that you can’t keep liquids down, which can trigger dehydration, and dehydration, which includes not urinating much, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when you stand up. Anyone experiencing those symptoms should get medical care as soon as possible.

There are some serious complications and long term health effects that can come with food poisoning, even after complete recovery. For E. coli infections, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can cause kidney failure and strokes. Campylobacter can cause paralysis. And Salmonella infections can lead to endocarditis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Now that you know the signs of severe complications from food poisoning, you are better able to protect yourself and your family. Get help quickly for the best outcomes.

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