Food poisoning — also referred to as foodborne disease or foodborne illness — from contaminated food is one of the more common illnesses. It affects about one in six Americans every year. In most cases, people recover at home with rest and fluids. But severe food poisoning can lead to serious illness.
If you’re searching for the closest emergency room to treat food poisoning in the Sacramento region, all six Dignity Health hospitals of Greater Sacramento offer expert, comprehensive emergency services. If you think you have food poisoning symptoms from a food-borne illness, call 911 or visit your nearest Dignity Health ER as soon as possible.
Signs of Food Poisoning: When to Go to the ER
In serious cases, food poisoning can lead to life-threatening dehydration and organ damage.
Seek emergency medical care or call 911 if you see these signs of food poisoning:
- Change or loss of consciousness
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- High fever (higher than 101°F)
- No urination, or very dark-colored urine
- Seizures or muscle cramps
- Severe diarrhea and vomiting, which may be bloody or very dark
- Vision changes
Food Poisoning Symptoms
The symptoms of food poisoning vary depending on the type of contaminating bacteria, virus, or parasite. The symptoms may begin within a few hours of eating or drinking the contaminated item, but they may not start for several days or weeks.
Most people with mild or moderate food poisoning experience:
- Symptoms of mild dehydration, including headache, fatigue, and dry mouth
- Stomach pain and cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent diarrhea
Preventing Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is usually the result of:
- Foods being left at room temperature too long
- Unwashed vegetables and fruits
- Undercooked poultry and other meat
- Eating foods prepared by people carrying germs
We recommend follow these tips to prevent food poisoning:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Wash all foods thoroughly before you eat them.
- Throw away expired food and food that looks or smells bad.
- Heat foods to their proper temperature when cooking, and throw them away after they’ve been out (unrefrigerated) for two hours.
- Clean and dry all kitchen surfaces and items you use to handle raw meat, seafood, and eggs.
Food Poisoning Treatment at Dignity Health
Fortunately, most bouts of food poisoning are not severe. They typically last one to 10 days and go away on their own. For mild symptoms, you should rest, not eat solid foods until symptoms go away, and drink water or electrolyte drinks to stay hydrated. Call your doctor at Dignity Health if your symptoms get worse.
At our state-of-the-art emergency rooms, our highly trained emergency care teams will treat you for dehydration and may test your blood and stool for the source of poisoning.
Different treatments include:
- Rehydration with intravenous fluids and electrolytes for severe dehydration
- Monitoring for complications such as kidney or nerve damage
- Antibiotics for severe food poisoning from bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, or Listeria
Dignity Health provides emergency services to treat food poisoning in Sacramento, CA and the surrounding areas.