Symptoms of Food Poisoning

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Food poisoning is a relatively common illness that can lead to serious complications. It may even be life-threatening. If you suspect food poisoning, an internal medicine doctor can provide assistance as a primary care physician.

The symptoms of food poisoning will depend on the source of poisoning, but many of them are common, including:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache

Most cases of food poisoning are caused by bacteria and other organisms in the food. Symptoms caused by this type of food poisoning may occur in as little as an hour after consuming contaminated food.

When symptoms occur in half an hour or less, it’s likely that you consumed food contaminated with a toxin (poison), such as from poison mushrooms, mold, or as a byproduct of bacteria growth. Symptoms commonly associated with this type of food poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Irritation of throat or lungs

In general, the faster the symptoms appear, the faster you need attention. You should also be aware of symptoms associated with botulism, including:

  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth

Botulism is rare, but it’s one of the most dangerous types of food poisoning.

When to Contact a Doctor

In general, food poisoning will pass on its own without the need for care, but you should contact an internal medicine or other primary care doctor about any symptoms that are worrisome. You are strongly encouraged to contact a doctor if you experience:

  • Symptoms of botulism
  • Symptoms of toxic exposure
  • Frequent vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down
  • Bloody vomit or stools
  • Severe pain
  • High temperature (102°)
  • Dehydration symptoms—dry mouth, little or no urination, weakness, dizziness
  • Symptoms last more than three days

An internal medicine or other primary care doctor can help you get treatment for most types of food poisoning, but if your condition worsens rapidly, you should call 911.

If you are looking for an internal medicine doctor for primary care in Littleton, please call 303-703-8583 or schedule an appointment with Dr. Andy Fine.


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