What To Do If You Get A Food-Borne Illness

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Faith's post yesterday about what to do when your fridge goes out got us thinking. Sometimes even after all precautions are taken, food-borne illness does happen. Those little guys in the photo above might be microscopic, but they can really ruin your day, or worse. Do you know what to do if one of them finds its way into your system?Food poisoning symptoms can occur as rapidly as 30 minutes of consuming tainted food and drink. Symptoms of food-borne illness include:
  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and/or cramping
  • Malaise (general uneasiness)
  • Fever

Most of the times, food poisoning runs its course within 24 to 48 hours. However, in extreme situations one should seek medical care. eMedicineHealth.com has a comprehensive list here on what symptoms should prompt you to see a doctor. Such symptoms include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea lasts for more than two days.
  • The ill person is younger than three years.
  • The ill person stops urinating, have decreased urination, or have urine that is dark in color.

If your symptoms don't require medical attention, you can easily treat yourself at home. Do not eat any solid foods while you are vomiting. Instead, drink a lot of water to help prevent dehydration. Once vomiting and diarrhea have stopped for a period of time, slowly reintroduce plain, low-sugar foods that are easy on the stomach, such as the BRAT diet. Continue to stay hydrated.

Hopefully, you'll never have to use this advice, but it is good to know!

(Images: Clockwise from top left - Listeria, E. coli, Vibrio, and Salmonella.)

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