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Food poisoning, also called foodborne illness, occurs from eating contaminated food. About one in six Americans get food poisoning each year. While most cases of food poisoning can be effectively treated at home with rest and fluids, some instances can be severe and lead to serious illness.
At Dignity Health, we provide personalized care and treatment for all forms of food poisoning in Arizona, as part of our emergency services. For immediate care, call 9-1-1 or visit a Dignity Health emergency room near you.
Food Poisoning Symptoms
The symptoms of food poisoning depend on the type of bacteria, parasite, or virus you come in contact with. Depending on the severity, food poisoning symptoms can start within just a few hours of eating or drinking something that is contaminated, or may not begin for several days or weeks.
If you have food poisoning symptoms, you may experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cramps and stomach pain
- Frequent diarrhea
- Symptoms of mild dehydration, including fatigue, headache, and dry mouth
You should call 9-1-1 right away if you have any of the following symptoms associated with food poisoning:
- Severe diarrhea and vomiting
- High fever (higher than 101°F)
- Vision changes
- Dizziness or confusion
- Breathing problems
- Difficulty swallowing
- Not urinating, or very dark-colored urine
- Loss of consciousness
- Seizures or muscle cramps
More severe food poisoning can cause life-threatening dehydration and organ damage.
If you need to go to the ER, use our InQuicker™ online tool to select your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a doctor who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.
Food Poisoning Causes
The most common causes of food poisoning are from eating foods prepared by people carrying contaminants (s)uch as in a restaurant, undercooked poultry and other meat, unwashed fruit and vegetables, and foods left at room temperature too long.
Food Poisoning Treatment
Most foodborne illnesses typically last anywhere from one to 10 days before going away on their own. You can treat mild food poisoning symptoms with rest, avoiding solid foods, and drinking plenty of water or electrolyte drinks to keep from becoming dehydrated.
If symptoms worsen, doctors at Dignity Health can offer treatments for dehydration, including rehydration with intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes. For severe food poisoning, treatment may include with antibiotics for E. coli, Listeria, or Salmonella, along with close monitoring for kidney or nerve damage. Dignity Health offers emergency treatment for all forms of food poisoning in Arizona, with the goal of recovery and prevention of more serious complications.