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Signs of Food Poisoning

When your child first begins to complain about stomach pain, how do you know what is causing it? Is this the first sign of the stomach flu? Are they intolerant of a specific type of food? Or could they be experiencing food poisoning?

Food poisoning can be much more serious than people know. Each year, millions of people get sick from food-borne illnesses and many are hospitalized. When ignored, food poisoning can lead to more serious illness and even death in some cases. Visiting an AllKids Pediatric Urgent Care location as soon as symptoms arise could save your child’s life.

 Causes of Food Poisoning

It’s not always easy to detect the cause of food poisoning. Microscopic bacteria, germs, and even viruses can sometimes contaminate the food we eat and spread toxins through our bodies. Animal based foods, such as meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood, are some of the more common foods that collect germs. But even unwashed fruit and vegetables can cause food poisoning as well.

Food can become contaminated if:

  1. stored at the wrong temperature

  2. not cooked long enough

  3. cooks or food handlers do not wash their hands properly

  4. the water used to grow food is infected, or

  5. meat comes in contact with bad germs during processing and shipping.

 Food Poisoning Germs

While there are many different types of bacteria and germs that can cause food poisoning, here is a list of the most common:

  1. E. Coli

  2. Salmonella

  3. Campylobacter

  4. Shigella

  5. Hepatitis A

  6. Listeria

  7. Noroviruses

How Do I Know if My Child Has Food Poisoning?

Symptoms of food poisoning will vary based on the type of bacteria or germ that caused it. In some cases, a child will begin to feel sick to their stomach within just an hour or two after eating contaminated food. This could lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea right away. Your child may also develop a fever and/or headache with an overall feeling of fatigue and weakness.

Other types of food poisoning can take a few weeks to show up, but the symptoms are generally the same. While these symptoms are also common to other illnesses, watch for symptoms that come on quickly and without warning.

Should I See a Doctor?

Most mild cases of food poisoning can be handled at home by making sure your child is drinking plenty of fluids and resting. Dehydration is one of the more dangerous effects of food poisoning because it can lead to other issues. Some children experience severe abdominal pain that will not stop after a bowel movement. If your child has these symptoms, has been vomiting for more than 12 hours, or if diarrhea persists with a high fever, bring your child into AllKids Pediatric Urgent Care. If blood is present in your child’s vomit or diarrhea, visit your family physician as soon as possible.

For more information on treating symptoms of food poisoning, call us at 480-633-1111.

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