When to See a Doctor for Food Poisoning: Professional Advice | Medcare

When to See a Doctor for Food Poisoning: Professional Advice

When to See a Doctor for Food Poisoning: Professional Advice

When to See a Doctor for Food Poisoning: Professional Advice

Food poisoning is one of the most common problems encountered today. It is one of the most highly contagious infections, and generally can be spread from person to person fairly easily. Many cases of food poisoning are mild and can be dealt with at home by oneself. However, this isn’t always the case, and there are many reasons for which seeking professional medical advice may be most appropriate.

How Do I Know if It’s Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning comes about when a person consumes food contaminated with a type of bacteria called Campylobacter. It is common for one to begin feeling symptoms within six to twelve hours after their meal. Food poisoning symptoms include upset stomach, stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and a fever. This may be followed by a rash of red spots on the skin. Symptoms can last from a few hours to several days.

When Should I See a Doctor?

It is always important to take necessary precautions when experiencing food poisoning. When symptoms become severe or show no signs of subsiding after a period of time, it may be time to seek professional help. There are a few other symptoms which may also warrant a trip to the doctor. These symptoms include:
  • Vomiting blood or black stools. Appearances of blood in a person’s vomit or stool may indicate that the body is trying to fight off an infection and appropriate care is needed.
  • Signs of severe dehydration. Dehydration occurs when the body is not ingesting enough fluids or is losing fluids rapidly through vomiting and diarrhea. Signs of severe dehydration include decreased urination, dry mouth, extreme thirst, and confusion.
  • High fever. A fever is the body’s way of trying to fight off an infection. However, a high fever (above 102° F) may indicate that the infection is serious.
  • Signs of bacterial infection. These include red streaks from the infection site, swelling, warmth, and increasing warmth around the site of injury is bacteria infection. The site will be sore to touch and redness or swelling may also occur.

How Can My Doctor Help Me?

During a Food poisoning episode, It is always recommended to try and rehydrate yourself with plenty of fluids to replace the lost electrolytes. It may also be recommended to take anti-diarrhea medications, such as loperamide. However, it is not recommended that children, elderly, or pregnant women take these medications as they may cause more harm than good. If the dehydration is severe, one may need to be given fluids through an IV. A doctor can also recommend specific dietary changes to get one healthy as quickly as possible.

Preventing Food Poisoning

Preventing food poisoning is very important. The first step in doing this is to make sure that all foods are properly cleaned and cooked. All meats and eggs should be cooked until an internal temperature of 165°F is achieved. All fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly and all utensils and cutting boards used for preparation should be thoroughly disinfected. Keeping foods properly refrigerated until they are to be consumed is also important in preventing illness from setting in.

Another potential source of food poisoning can come from packaged foods, as food packages can sometimes become contaminated during the packaging process. It is important to keep a close eye on food packages for signs of mold. Also, it is a good idea to consume the foods within expiration dates. Foods that are allowed to sit for too long may become a breeding ground for bacteria.


Food poisoning can be a very painful and confusing infection to deal with. However, it is important to take appropriate precautions and ensure that you monitor the symptoms. If symptoms become severe or show no signs of improvement after a period of time, it is important to seek professional medical advice. A doctor can recommend the appropriate treatments to ensure that one gets healthy as quickly as possible. In addition, there are a few precautions that can be taken to help prevent food poisoning from occurring all together.
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