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Do I Have Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is also known as a foodborne illness, which is an illness that makes you sick from eating food that harmful pathogens have contaminated. If you have ever been food poisoned, then you already know it is no fun and can make you stay in bed for days. Because the symptoms are similar to the flu, you are not alone if you have wondered if you have food poisoning vs. the stomach flu.

There are a few different ways that these foods can be contaminated, but the most common means would be by infectious organisms like bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Food could become contaminated if in contact with these organisms at any point, or even if the food is uncooked or mishandled.

Nually is a collective of knowledgeable professionals dedicated to providing the public with both accurate and accessible information on a wide range of diseases and treatments. 

Food Poisoning Overview

Food poisoning is not just one type of sickness; it is a broad term from many different kinds of infections.

Each time a person gets food poisoned, it can be different, the symptoms vary depending on the type of parasite, or bacteria that have infected your body. While saying that, five primary symptoms can occur.

A person who has food poisoning can experience one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever

These symptoms can last from a few hours to a few days and can start within a few hours of being in contact with the contaminated food.

Although most times food poisoning will go away on its own once the body has attacked and gotten rid of the virus, there are times where you would need to seek medical treatment.

If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, seek medical attention.

  • Frequent episodes of vomiting and trouble keeping fluids down
  • Bloody vomit or bowel movements
  • Diarrhea for at least three days
  • Severe pain or cramping in your abdomen
  • An oral temperature higher than 100.4 F (38 C)

A serious danger of food poisoning is dehydration. Signs or symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst, dry mouth, trouble urinating, or feeling weak, dizzy, or lightheaded. If you experience these, seek medical attention immediately.

Food Poisoning Diagnosis

Food poisoning gets diagnosed through a review of medical history, recent history as well as current health, foods you have eaten, and your symptoms. Most likely, your doctor will perform a physical exam, including feeling for tenderness in the abdomen, also looking for signs of dehydration.

A lot of times, the infectious agent is unable to be identified, but in an attempt to find out the doctor might conduct a stool sample. This sample would be sent into the lab and possibly help stop an outbreak, as well as help,  treat your sickness faster.

Food Poisoning Treatment

Fluids

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to having food poisoning would be the possibility of dehydration. In that case, a necessary treatment would be to restore and replace your fluids being loss. Due to vomiting and having diarrhea, a person can quickly lose minerals from their body. Be sure to be drinking plenty of water and Gatorade.

Medications

Another option your doctor might use is prescribing antibiotics. A doctor gives these antibiotics through an IV or pill form, but either way, it is imperative to get these medications going quick to prevent spread.

DIY Remedies

There are plenty of simple options to make yourself feel more comfortable while waiting for the sickness to pass. Try these:

  • Ginger: This remedy is best as tea, ginger helps relax stomach muscles
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This is a remedy that is known to improve digestive health and fight against bacteria.
  • Ice Chips and Crackers: Small foods and amounts of liquids will help rehydrate yourself without upsetting the stomach too much.

Preventing Food Poisoning

If you already have food poisoning then it might already be too late, but who wants to get it more than once? One way of preventing having food poisoning would be to ensure food made at home you cook it well and thoroughly.

One of the biggest causes of food poisoning is called cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is when one piece of food gets bacteria on it from another part of the food. For example, since chicken has to be fully cooked through, if someone used the same knife to cut the hamburger patties as the chicken, that would be a problem due to cooking temperatures.

Pain Management

The best pain management solution would be continuing to drink plenty of fluids and staying hydrated. Without being hydrated, your body will continue to feel bad and won’t have the ability to flush out your system. Ensuring that you stay on top of drinking water will help your body recover.

Another type of pain management would be allowing your body to rest. You don’t want to get back on your feet too soon without being sure that the sickness is out of your body. Give your body a full extra day of rest before going back to your typical day to day habits, including but not limited to eating.

Without your body fully recovering, your system isn’t ready to be exposed to everyday things. It would be wise to start eating foods again slowly. The first few days your body might feel as though the only thing it can take in is crackers and water, which is okay. But, the next day, you can slowly work your way back to regular food by having chicken broth, then soup, and so on.

Final Thoughts

In the battle of food poisoning vs. stomach flu, no one wins. Being sick by food poisoning is no joke, and can be extremely painful. There are many different ways of dealing with the pain, like staying hydrated, and knowing what to expect from your doctor. Whenever you have any illness, a support system is essential, as well as a place to find reliable information to help you heal.