In adults, food poisoning can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with food poisoning typically feel sick for about 72 hours after eating contaminated food.
The CDC also says that if you think you may have food poisoning, don’t wait to seek treatment. Early treatment is key to preventing complications.
Food poisoning in children
Most food poisoning cases in children occur from contaminated food. Food poisoning can cause several uncomfortable symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
Children can get food poisoning from eating contaminated food, or from using the wrong utensils to eat.
Other types of food poisoning in children
In rare cases, a child can also get food poisoning from consuming a contaminated food or harmful medication.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about 10 cases of children getting food poisoning were reported each year between 2014 and 2015.
The most common cause of food poisoning in children is consuming contaminated food. The FDA reports that food poisoning cases in children are on the rise.
According to the FDA, children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years may be more likely to get food poisoning. These are the ages when most people are eating more food that’s contaminated.
Other things that can cause food poisoning in children include:
- Eating foods that haven’t been cooked properly
- Consuming foods that have a strong odor, such as fish, meat, or unpasteurized milk
- Eating food that has contaminated insecticides, like those that are used on vegetables
- Eating food that has been contaminated with pesticides or chemicals, such as pesticides that are used on fruits or vegetables
- Consuming contaminated food that’s been stored in a poorly-ventilated area
- Eating food that’s been contaminated by eating contaminated food
- Eating food that’s been contaminated by drinking contaminated water
Diarrhea in children
Children who have diarrhea usually have loose stools. Stools that are dry and hard may be a sign of dehydration.
Other signs that a child has diarrhea include:
- Having loose stools
- Having diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days
- Having diarrhea that’s severe and painful
- Having a fever
- Having a headache
- Having a loss of appetite
- Having nausea
- Having vomiting
- Having blood in the stool
Food poisoning symptoms for children
Symptoms of food poisoning are similar to other types of food poisoning in children. The CDC lists the symptoms of food poisoning in children as follows:
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days
- Abdominal pain that’s severe and not responding to pain medication
How to treat food poisoning?
Food poisoning can be dangerous, and it can lead to serious complications if it’s not treated.
Treatment for food poisoning depends on the type of food poisoning.
In many cases, food poisoning requires hospitalization.
If you think you or your child may have food poisoning, it’s best to seek emergency medical attention.
The most common treatment for food poisoning is intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes.
The FDA recommends that you stay home for 24 hours after you receive IV fluids.
If you’re at home and having trouble breathing, seek emergency care.
The FDA also recommends that people who’ve been diagnosed with food poisoning:
- Stop eating or drinking anything that’s been contaminated
- Wash all the surfaces in your home and work space, including countertops, the sink, and the floor
- Wash your hands before and after preparing food
- Clean your refrigerator and freezer to make sure there’s no contamination
- Clean your food storage containers
- Disinfect the surfaces of your kitchen and bathroom with a diluted bleach solution
- Don’t leave your home and make sure the door is locked, and wash your clothes and bedding separately from other clothes
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and thoroughly dry them
- After eating, don’t touch your mouth or nose
- If you have a cut, wash it with soap and water
- Place a paper towel soaked in bleach on the cut and leave it on for 15 minutes
- Avoid eating anything raw
- Don’t reuse utensils
If you or your child vomits, try to drink several cups of water to help prevent dehydration.
If you’re vomiting, you may be dehydrated and need to rest.
If you have diarrhea, you may be vomiting.
It’s important to drink fluids and rest to avoid dehydration and worsening symptoms.
It’s important to avoid foods that could make you or your child sick.
Symptoms of food poisoning in children
If you have food poisoning in children, your child’s symptoms may be like those of other children who have food poisoning.
It’s important to pay attention to how your child is acting and how they’re feeling.
In the case of a more severe food poisoning in children, they may be lethargic and have a fast heart rate.
If your child has diarrhea, their stool may be greenish or black.
In cases of severe food poisoning, they may also have low blood pressure.
Children who’ve had diarrhea may also have:
- Fast heart rate
Severe food poisoning in children
The CDC reports that severe food poisoning is more likely to occur in children than in adults.
The severity of the food poisoning may also depend on the age of the child.
Symptoms of severe food poisoning in children include:
- High fever
- Diarrhoea that lasts more than 3 days
- Diarrhoea that’s severe and doesn’t respond to treatment
- Muscle aches
- Stomach cramps
- A fast heart rate
- Low blood pressure
What causes food poisoning?
Food poisoning can be caused by consuming:
- Certain medications
Bacteria can affect your digestive system and cause food poisoning.
The most common bacteria that cause food poisoning include Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.
It’s also possible for food poisoning to be caused by:
- E. coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Clostridium perfringens
Fungi can cause food poisoning. They can also cause a yeast infection in some people.
There are many types of fungi, and they’re often found in:
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Animal products
- Raw meats
- Fungal infections
Viruses can cause food poisoning. They can also cause food poisoning to develop into a foodborne illness.
The most common viruses that cause food poisoning include:
- Norwalk virus
- Hepatitis A virus
- Hepatitis E virus
- Hepatitis B virus
- Hepatitis C virus
- Enteric adenovirus
Food poisoning can be dangerous and can lead to more serious complications if not treated.
In most cases, food poisoning is caused by bacteria or fungi.
There are steps that you can take to prevent food poisoning in the first place.
You can also help prevent foodborne illness by washing your hands thoroughly before preparing and eating food.
If you have food poisoning, you should seek immediate medical care.
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