November 29, 2015
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Food Poisoning

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Food poisoning facts

  • Food poisoning is a common infectious condition that affects millions of people in the United States each year.
  • Most commonly, people complain of
  • People should seek medical care if they have an associated fever, blood in their stool (rectal bleeding), signs and symptoms of dehydration, or if their symptoms do not resolve after a couple of days.
  • Treatment for food poisoning focuses on keeping the affected person well hydrated.
  • Most cases of food poisoning resolve on their own.
  • Prevention is key and depends upon keeping food preparation areas clean, proper hand washing, and cooking foods thoroughly.

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is a food borne disease. Ingestion of food that contains a toxin, chemical or infectious agent (like a bacterium, virus, parasite, or prion) may cause adverse symptoms in the body. Those symptoms may be related only to the gastrointestinal tract causing vomiting or diarrhea or they may involve other organs such as the kidney, brain, or muscle.

Typically most food borne diseases cause vomiting and diarrhea that tend to be short lived and resolve on their own, but dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities may develop. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates approximately 48 million people become ill from food-related diseases each year resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths.

According to the CDC, in 2011, the most common foodborne illnesses in the United States each year are caused by Norovirus, and the bacteria Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, and Salmonella.

This article introduces the major causes of food poisoning and is not meant to be all-inclusive.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2015


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