Food Poisoning Treatment in Alexandria, and Ruther Glen VA
Food poisoning is a common illness that affects millions of people every year. Symptoms can be serious and may require medical attention. Some common symptoms of food poisoning include cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. At PACS Urgent Care, we can help treat your symptoms and give you tips to avoid future illnesses. For more information, contact us or online check-in. We have convenient locations to serve you in Alexandria VA, and Ruther glen VA.
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Food poisoning is a general term used to describe sudden and acute illness, usually including abdominal pain and nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Millions of Americans become ill with foodborne illnesses every year. Most types of food poisoning are connected to pathogenic bacteria found on foods that are not properly cleaned or prepared, or spoilage bacteria that result from improper food handling and storage. The foods that most often carry disease-causing bacteria are poultry, meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products, and produce.
Depending on the cause of the food poisoning, symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Symptoms usually begin within a few hours of eating or drinking the contaminated food but can also take a few days or even weeks to start.
1. Salmonella – these bacteria can be found in foods like chicken, eggs, milk, vegetables, and fruits. Salmonella causes mild to severe abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
2. E.coli – bacteria often found in undercooked beef, but can also be found on fresh produce. Someone ill with E. coli may have nausea and vomiting, and watery or bloody stools.
3. Campylobacter – bacteria that is associated with chicken and chicken products. Campylobacter is the most common cause of gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in the United States, and can also cause fever, and symptoms like arthritis and muscle weakness.
4. Shigella – bacteria that are usually transmitted by vegetables that are not handled according to proper food safety practices. Shigella infections cause abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea.
5. Listeria – outbreaks have been linked to raw or undercooked poultry, meat and seafood, and raw or unpasteurized milk and cheeses. Symptoms can range from fever and diarrhea to much more serious outcomes, especially in pregnant mothers, who could experience miscarriages, premature births, or stillbirths.
6. Botulism – bacteria that can be found in improperly canned vegetables or cured meat. The botulism bacteria creates a neurotoxin that can result in nausea, vomiting, weakness and body aches, and other very serious symptoms, such as paralysis, inability to swallow, and even death.
7. Enteric viruses – these are a category of intestinal viruses such as hepatitis A and norovirus that are very easily spread and can affect a wide variety of foods, particularly shellfish. Symptoms may vary depending on which virus is involved, but usually include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
When symptoms are severe or if they last longer than a day or two, urgent care may be required. Frequent vomiting and diarrhea can quickly cause dehydration, particularly in children and seniors, and this can require medical attention. PACS Urgent Care treats patients of any age with no appointment necessary at our clinic.
Most cases of food poisoning are caused by improper food handling or storage, or improper hygiene in food handlers. These are the usual causes of foodborne illness:
• Raw or undercooked food
• Unpasteurized foods
• Unwashed produce
• Improper food storage (raw food must always be kept below cooked food in a refrigerator, keep food wrapped or in a sealed container)
• Improper hand washing while preparing food
• Cross-contamination between raw food and cooked food
• Using the same knives, utensils, and cutting boards for meats and vegetables
• Incorrect thawing of frozen meat and poultry
• Food prepared too far in advance and kept at room temperature for more than two hours
• Food is stored at unsafe temperatures (hot foods above 140 degrees F, cold foods below 40 degrees F)
• Leftover food is not reheated to a hot enough temperature to destroy bacteria
• Eating food past its expiry date or that has been stored for too long after cooking
These risks are easy to prevent at home by observing safe food handling and storage. If possible, avoid consuming high-risk foods, like at potlucks or buffets, when you are not able to confirm they are safe to eat.
Food poisoning can be serious, and even a mild case can leave you feeling miserable for a time. Prolonged vomiting and diarrhea can require urgent rehydration, and we can help with the pain, cramps, and nausea you may be experiencing. You should seek urgent care and walk-in clinic if you have bloody stools or vomit, dizziness, difficulty breathing, high fever, seizures, loss of consciousness, confusion, vision changes, or if you are pregnant. At PACS Urgent Care, we will provide care to address your most serious symptoms quickly and will identify the source of your food poisoning to provide instructions to recover fully. Reach out to us today or simply walk in and visit us so we can help treat the food poisoning that you might be experiencing. For more information, call us or online check-in today. We have convenient locations to serve you in Alexandria VA, and Ruther glen VA! We serve patients from Alexandria VA, Huntington VA, Arlington VA, Ruther Glen VA, Bagdad VA, Athens VA, Doswell VA, and surrounding areas.