Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Food-Borne Illness (Food Poisoning)Intoxicaci³n por alimentos

Food-Borne Illness (Food Poisoning)

Food-borne disease occurs when foods aren't cooked, handled, or stored properly and become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins (poisons). Food-borne disease can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Symptoms may not appear for 24 to 48 hours.

Image

When to Go to the Emergency Room (ER)

Call 911 or your local emergency number if:

  • You have severe symptoms, such as bloody vomit or diarrhea, or symptoms lasting more than 12 hours.

  • Your heart is racing, pounding, or skipping.

  • You are having trouble breathing.

  • You are elderly; have stomach or colon problems, chronic liver disease, or hemochromatosis; or have a suppressed immune system.

  • You suspect botulism. This is a toxin found mainly in home-canned foods. Symptoms often begin within 12 to 36 hours. They include headache, blurred vision, and muscle weakness. Botulism can be fatal. Don't delay getting help.

  • You have signs of dehydration such as excessive thirst, dizziness, or lightheadedness.

What to Expect in the ER

A doctor will ask you about your illness and examine you carefully. Your blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate, and temperature will be checked. A sample of your stool may be tested for bacteria. There are many types of foodborne diseases, so treatment will depend on your symptoms. You'll likely be given fluids through a vein in your arm. This helps replace water and minerals lost with vomiting and diarrhea. You may be admitted to the hospital if your symptoms are very severe.

If you have a mild food-borne illness:

  • Rest and drink plenty of liquids.

  • Avoid solid foods until you feel better.

  • Don't take antidiarrheal medications unless your doctor tells you to.

Date Last Reviewed: 2005-10-27T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2009-06-01T00:00:00-06:00

For top-quality, up-to-date care for gastrointestinal problems, trust the board-certified, experienced GI specialists trusted by thousands of patients and their doctors for nearly 30 years. Call Gastroenterology Consultants at (281) 481-9400 or fill out our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your consultation with us.

Gastroenterology Consultants

Ellington

444 FM 1959, Suite A,
Houston, TX 77034
Direct Phone: 281-481-9400

St. John

2060 Space Park Drive, Suite 306
Nassau Bay, TX 77058
Direct Phone: 281-892-2460

Clear Lake

250 Blossom Street, Suite 210 Webster, TX 77598
Direct Phone: 281-316-1119

Pasadena

4211 Fairmont Parkway
Pasadena, TX 77504
Direct Phone: 832-456-8434

Pearland

15015 Kirby Dr. Ste.200A
Pearland, TX 77047
Direct Phone: 713-343-6360

League City

2555 S. Gulf Freeway Ste. 500
League City, TX 77573
Direct Phone: 281-481-9400

Gastroenterology Consultants is a leader in advanced, comprehensive gastrointestinal care. We specialize in up-to-date gastrointestinal care, which includes screening and treatment for colon cancer, heartburn and acid reflux, esophageal disorders and difficulty swallowing, peptic ulcers, H. pylori, gallstones and other gallbladder disorders, rectal bleeding and hemorrhoids, malabsorption and celiac disease, liver diseases - hepatitis C, hepatitis B, cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, hepatoma and liver cancer, abdominal pain, noncardiac chest pain, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, anemia, nausea and vomiting, gas and bloating and lactose intolerance

Gastroenterology Consultants also offers colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer, EGD & capsule endoscopy small-bowel, endoscopic ultrasound, Bravo 48-hour pH monitoring, H. pylori breath testing, esophageal manometry and impedance testing, hemorrhoid band ligation, esophageal dilatation, advanced therapeutic ERCP, Biologic therapy, treatment of Barrett's esophagus, common bile duct stones and endoscopic mucosal resection.