Posted on Jun 2, 2011 in Food & drink, Health & safety
Something has made me really sick, and I think it must have been something I ate. How can I track down the cause of food poisoning?
Just spent the last six hours sleeping while draped over the toilet? My condolences, we’ve all been there and it’s certainly neither pleasant nor fun. So now that you’ve finished dialing Ralph on the porcelain phone, you’re shaky, tired, annoyed… and trying to figure out what the heck just happened.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Though I spent a few years as an EMT scraping drunks off pavement and helping old ladies back into bed, I am not a physician, nor do I claim to be. This is intended to be a guide to help you be more informed when you consult with your doctor. The FindersFree legal team thanks you.
First, let’s cover some basics. Did you, in fact, have the characteristic symptoms of food poisoning? They can, of course, vary depending on what nasty little bug caused the problem in the first place, but according to the Mayo Clinic most manifest themselves with…
Additonally, if your vomiting continues for more than two days, you begin vomiting blood, you can’t keep liquids down after 24 hours, have severe diarrhea for more than three days, run a fever of 101.5 F or higher, or are severely dehydrated, seek medical attention immediately. Right now. Stop reading this and go.
Okay, so you spun the wheel of symptoms and came up a winner. Loser. Whatever. You had food poisoning. What caused it?
Well, depending on what the agent was that caused it, it could have been anything you ate in the last 8 hours to two weeks. Take a look at the chart below, adapted from information from the FDA, which details some of the most common contaminants, and the time it generally takes before the onset of symptoms. It also lists the types of foods most commonly associated with the transmission of that bacteria. This information can often get you in the ballpark so you can figure out whether it was the raw oysters three days ago, or that hotdog you had for lunch.
Finally, if you do suspect food poisoning, contact your local health department. By giving them your symptoms, what you ate, where you got the food, and when you became ill, you could help identify a potential outbreak — all so others don’t have to suffer through what you did. There’s your good deed for the day.
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