Food Poisoning Symptoms and Conditions

Although all foods – and your digestive tract – contain bacteria, in high quantities these microorganisms can lead to food poisoning. This is usually due to poor handling of your food, improper cooking, or insufficient storage. However, bacteria and foodborne illness can also be contracted from foods containing viruses, parasites, chemicals, and toxins.

If you think you may be suffering from severe food poisoning, seek medical attention immediately. Call us in our office located in Los Angeles, Dr. Tabib can diagnose the symptoms and provide treatment to get you feeling better in no time.

Symptoms of Bacteria and Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illness usually presents with symptoms resembling intestinal flu. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several days depending on the amount of bacteria that may have been ingested. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include:

In some cases, you may also experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
    • Fainting
    • Rapid Heartbeat

Food Poisoning is usually most prevalent in those with slower immune responses. These include older individuals, infants, young children, and those with chronic diseases (such as AIDS, diabetes, etc.) or who are receiving chemotherapy.

In rare cases, Bacteria and foodborne illness can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is caused by a particular strain of E. coli. It primarily affects children under 10 years old and can lead to kidney failure.

Causes of Foodborne Illness

Bacteria are the most common causes of foodborne illnesses. When food is exposed to certain conditions, these bacteria can grow to unhealthful levels and cause sickness. Keeping your food properly refrigerated and cooking certain foods, especially animal products, thoroughly is usually the best way to kill these bacteria. However, fresh produce can also be subject to contamination at any point during its production, shipping, or preparation.

You can help reduce your chances of contracting these illnesses by observing the following steps when handling:

  • Always refrigerate your perishable foods promptly.
  • Cook your meat to the recommended minimum internal temperature.
    • 145 F for beef and lamb
    • 160 F for pork and ground beef
    • 165 F for ground poultry
    • 180 F for whole poultry
  • Reheat cooked food to at least 165 F.
  • Keep your meat separate from your produce to avoid cross contamination. This includes using separate cutting boards and knives.
  • Keep your hands and prep surfaces clean.
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator.
  • Keep your refrigerator clear to allow cool air to circulate properly.

Diagnosis of Bacteria and Foodborne Illness

If you think you may have severe food poisoning, Dr. Tabib can deliver a proper diagnosis by reviewing a list of foods you have recently eaten and performing laboratory tests. These may include an examination of a stool sample. If you have a sample of the suspected food, he can test for the presence of bacteria, toxins, viruses, or parasites that may be responsible for your foodborne illness.

Bacteria and Foodborne Illness Treatment

Most cases of food poisoning are mild and do not require hospitalization. Increased fluid intake is usually the only treatment required, in order to replenish fluids and electrolytes lost to dehydration. In cases of gastrointestinal or neurologic symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.

In the most severe situations, such as HUS, hospitalization may be needed for medical therapy and nutritional support. It is important to maintain fluid and electrolyte levels, in addition to controlling blood pressure. To avoid kidney failure, dialysis may need to be started immediately.

Today, gastroenterology conditions can be treated effectively. We provide everyone a personalized gastroenterology treatment plan to meet your unique needs and improve your quality of life. Contact our gastroenterology and hepatology center to schedule a consolation with Los Angeles’ preferred Gastroenterologist– Dr. Tabib.

Dr. Tabib’s completed his postgraduate fellowship, residency, and internships at the UCLA/Cedar-Sinai Medical Center.

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Siamak Tabib, M.D., Inc.
8631 W 3rd St Suite 1015E,
Los Angeles, CA 90048

(310) 683-4911

    Voted Best Gastroenterologist in Los Angeles


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