Severe food poisoning is the one problem that usually comes with culinary adventure and has had a long streak of winning positions on people’s bucket lists. Let us all admit it: It’s a stomachache in worse conditions.
Now, as responsible adults, it should be our main concern to find out what and where we are going to eat beforehand; however, there are some times when we simply can’t do that, whether it’s caused by a poor internet connection, or the destination we’re heading is just not that developed for it to be featured in any travel website.
As clean as they are, sometimes the food we eat in different parts of the world will hurt us simply because it’s not the same standards as the food we have in our own countries. The different chemical structures of the water, acidity, and the freshness of the products used are among the top three reasons for an upset stomach after a meal in a foreign country.
If you find yourself feeling sick after a meal, you might be having food poisoning. While symptoms can be anywhere from mild to a more serious one, it can vary depending on the type of germs you have. It may take hours or days to develop symptoms after you swallow a contaminated food or drink. That being said, a food poisoning commonly has some or all of these symptoms:
- Upset stomach.
- Stomach cramps.
Symptoms of a Severe Food Poisoning
Now, when should you see a doctor? If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the things listed below, it’s high time you find and go to the nearest doctor as fast as you can because it means that you’re getting a more severe food poisoning up your alley:
- A bloody diarrhea.
- A high fever (temperature over 102°F or 38°C, measured in your mouth.)
- A frequent vomiting that prevents your body from keeping liquids down (which can lead to dehydration.)
- Signs of dehydration, including little to no urination, a very dry mouth and throat, or feeling dizzy when standing up.
- A diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days.
Symptoms and Sources of Common Food Poisoning Germs
Some germs make you sick within a few hours after you swallow them. Others may take a few days to make you sick. This list provides the symptoms, when symptoms begin, and common food sources for germs that cause food poisoning. The germs are listed in order of how quickly symptoms begin.
- Symptoms begin 30 minutes to 8 hoursafter exposure: Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps. Most people also have diarrhea.
- Common food sources: Foods that are not cooked after handling, such as sliced meats, puddings, pastries, and sandwiches.
- Symptoms begin 2 to 48 hoursafter exposure: Watery diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, fever, chills
- Common food sources:Raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters
- Symptoms begin 6 to 24 hoursafter exposure: Diarrhea, stomach cramps. Usually begins suddenly and lasts for less than 24 hours. Vomiting and fever are not
- Common food sources: Beef or poultry, especially large roasts; gravies; dried or precooked foods
- Symptoms begin 6 hours to 6 daysafter exposure: Diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, vomiting
- Common food sources:Raw or undercooked chicken, turkey, and meat; eggs; unpasteurized (raw) milk and juice; raw fruits and vegetables
Other sources: Many animals, including backyard poultry, reptiles and amphibians, and rodents (pocket pets)
- Symptoms begin 12 to 48 hoursafter exposure: Diarrhea, nausea/stomach pain, vomiting
- Common food sources:Leafy greens, fresh fruits, shellfish (such as oysters), or unsafe water
Other sources: Infected person; touching surfaces that have the virus on them
- Symptoms begin 18 to 36 hoursafter exposure: Double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech. Difficulty swallowing and breathing, dry mouth. Muscle weakness and paralysis. Symptoms start in the head and move down as the illness gets worse.
- Common food sources:Improperly canned or fermented foods, usually homemade. Prison-made illicit alcohol (pruno).
- Symptoms begin 2 to 5 daysafter exposure: Diarrhea (often bloody), stomach cramps/pain, fever
- Common food sources:Raw or undercooked poultry, raw (unpasteurized) milk, and contaminated water
- Symptoms begin 3 to 4 daysafter exposure: Severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Around 5–10% of people diagnosed with coli develop a life-threatening health problem.
- Common food sources:Raw or undercooked ground beef, raw (unpasteurized) milk and juice, raw vegetables (such as lettuce), raw sprouts, unsafe water
- Symptoms begin 1 weekafter exposure: Watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue.
- Common food sources:Raw fruits or vegetables and herbs
- Symptoms usually begin within 2 weeksafter exposure: Pregnant women usually have a fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. Infections during pregnancy can lead to serious illness or even death in newborns. Other people (most often older adults): headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.
- Common food sources:Queso fresco and other soft cheeses, raw sprouts, melons, hot dogs, pâtés, deli meats, smoked seafood, and raw (unpasteurized) milk.
Serious Health Problem and Long-Term Effects From Food Poisoning
While most people will only experience some kind of mild illnesses ranging from a few hours to a few days top, some less-fortunate ones can have it much more seriously to the point where they need to be hospitalized. A more severe food poisoning can lead to long-term health problems or even death. As the contaminated food cause an infection in your body, it can possibly lead to:
- A chronic arthritis.
- Brain and nerve damage.
- Kidney failure caused by hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
So, if you feel like If you have the symptoms of food poisoning such as diarrhea or vomiting, don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration (not having enough water in your body). When it becomes too much too handle, please pay us a visit at our clinic where our amazing team of medical professionals will be happy to help you out of your misery and have you back on your feet in no time.
See you on our next article, and until then, please stay safe and healthy!