You wake up at 4 in the morning sweating, feeling nauseous, with horrible stomach cramps. You are doubled over in pain - what is happening?
Millions of Americans feel this exact same way every year. Why? Food poisoning. 48 million Americans get food poisoning every year, and of those, 128,000 of those are hospitalized. Food poisoning, while common, is a very serious topic. In most cases, people feel very sick for a few days and eventually feel better on their own. Other, more serious cases, can require antibiotics or even hospitalization.
Is it food poisoning or a stomach bug?
Many people wonder if what they are feeling is the stomach bug or food poisoning. The main differences between them are how a person gets comes down with it, how long it lasts, and the severity of the sickness.
While both a stomach bug and food poisoning can be serious, food poisoning generally has harsher symptoms and shows up faster than the stomach bug. Food poisoning in most cases doesn’t last as long as the stomach bug. A good rule of thumb: if it is possible that you ate something that wasn’t prepared correctly this could be a major indicator of food poisoning.
On the other hand, a stomach bug is a virus, so coming into contact with anyone who has it means you could get it. Also, because it is a virus, antibiotics won’t cure it.
The important thing to understand about trying to tell the difference between the stomach bug and food poisoning is the severity and the duration of your symptoms.
How do I prevent food poisoning?
The first step in preventing food poisoning is to make sure all food is cooked and stored in accordance with CDC guidelines. By following their 4 rules of cleaning your hands and surfaces, separating food, cooking at the right temperature, and refrigerating properly, you can avoid food poisoning in your kitchen.
And really, a lot of the guidelines are common sense. Don’t eat cold pizza left out from the night before. Don’t use the same knife to cut up squash that you used to cut up raw chicken. When you’re grilling out, use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s cooked to recommended levels.
What are the symptoms of food poisoning?
So if food poisoning isn’t always avoidable, what can you do if you do get it? It is very important to recognize the symptoms as soon as possible.
While most people know the common symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and mild fevers, there are some symptoms that could be a sign you might require a doctor.
So here are 5 symptoms you should pay special attention to when you feel like you have food poisoning:
Blood in your stool or urine
Frequent vomiting leading to severe dehydration
A fever with a temperature of over 102 degrees
Muscle weakness or tingling sensations
Experiencing these symptoms are signs of much more serious cases of food poisoning and can lead to harsher long term side effects if not taken care of.
Use good food handling and storage common sense
So hopefully by now, you recognize the signs of food poisoning, and you learned you have some control over avoiding it. I’ll tell you this; people who have had food poisoning tell you they’ll never forget the incident. So no eating a chicken nugget if you drop it on the floor, and put your pizza in the fridge at night if you want it cold the next morning!
Suspect you have food poisoning in Tuscaloosa AL? We got you at Crimson Care in Tuscaloosa, AL.
Dr. Ramesh Peramsetty -- along with his entire Crimson Care team -- are available as primary care physicians or stop-in clinic help--or both! We offer three Tuscaloosa locations: Crimson Care Skyland, Veterans Memorial, and First Care on McFarland. All of our locations offer extended weekday hours and one-stop treatment services, including medical care, x-rays, lab work, and prescription dispensing. Crimson Care also provides digital access to your electronic medical records via our online patient portal. Request prescription refills, complete any necessary patient forms online, review your medical records at any time, and even pay your bill.
Check us out today on our website, or give us a call today at Crimson Care Veterans: (205) 507-1100, Crimson Care Skyland: (205) 507-1119, or First Care: (205) 349-2323.