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Food poisoning: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention

What is Food Poisoning?

Caused by infectious organisms like bacteria, viruses, parasites and other toxins in the food, food poisoning is an illness that occurs when you consume contaminated food. The food generally gets contaminated at any stage of food processing or production or sometimes when the food is cooked or handled incorrectly. The symptoms of food poisoning could start within a few hours of consuming contaminated food and could last for a few days. The symptoms would generally include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

More often than not, food poisoning is mild and may resolve without treatment, however many times people might need to visit a doctor or hospital for the same. One should most definitely see a doctor if the symptoms are severe, for example if you have high fever, blood in stool, if you’re feeling dehydrated or if you are unable to hold down any food or liquid. 


What Are The Symptoms Of Food Poisoning?

Symptoms of food poisoning generally depend on the source and severity of the infection. How long you take to recover and how long your infection will last also depends on the source of your infection. Food poisoning could last from a minimum of one day to a maximum of 28 days. If you have food poisoning, you might show the following symptoms:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • mild fever
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • headaches

Over and above this, there are some other symptoms that are more serious that you need to be careful about:

  • If diarrhea last for three days or more  
  • If the fever temperature is more than 101.5°F
  • If you struggling with seeing or speaking
  • If you are showing signs of severe dehydration. This would include symptoms like having a dry mouth, passing little to no urine or having a bloody urine

Incase you are showing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to reach out to a doctor. 


How Does Diagnosis Of Food Poisoning Work?

Generally, a doctor will be able to diagnose whether or not you have food poisoning based on your symptoms. If yours is a severe case, then blood tests, stool tests, and tests on food that you have eaten might be conducted to determine the cause of the infection. To determine whether or not you are dehydrated because of food poisoning, a urine test might also be conducted. 


Who Is At The Risk For Food Poisoning?

Anyone can come down with food poisoning, however there are some people who are more at risk than the others. People who have a suppressed immune system or an auto-immune disease have higher chances of getting an infection and greater risk of complications if they get an infection.   

High-risk groups include:

  • The Elderly & Older Adults – Older people have a weaker immune system wherein their immune system may not respond quickly or effectively to infections. 
  • Pregnant Women – During pregnancy, changes occur in the metabolism and circulation. And this sometimes tends to increase the risk of food poisoning. Sometimes the reaction to the infection may be more severe during pregnancy, and in rare cases, it could make the baby sick too. 
  • Infants and Young Children – immune systems of young children aren’t haven’t fully developed, unlike adults and thus they are at a much higher risk.
  • People with Chronic Diseases – If someone’s suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes, liver disease or AIDS, receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer then that also reduces one’s immune response


What Does The Treatment Of Food Poisoning Comprise?

When cases of food poisoning are not severe, food poisoning can usually be treated at home, the infection will mostly resolve in three to five days.

There are over-the-counter medications that can help control diarrhea and suppress nausea. However, you should consult a doctor before taking these medications, as vomiting and diarrhea is the body’s way to rid the system of the toxin. Also, there’s a possibility that taking such medications would mask the severity of the illness and cause you to delay seeking a doctor’s treatment.

When you have food poisoning, one of the most important things is to remain hydrated. Drinking sports drinks high in electrolytes, fruit juices, coconut water, etc can be useful in replenishing carbohydrates and will also aid with the fatigue. Decaffeinated teas with useful herbs such chamomile, peppermint, and dandelion may also help with an upset stomach. You should also make sure to avoid caffeine, since it may irritate your digestive tract. 

In some severe cases, people might require hydration through intravenous (IV) fluids at a hospital. In extreme cases, longer hospitalization might be required till the patient fully recovers. 

When you have food poisoning it is also important to get plenty of rest.

In severe cases of food poisoning, individuals may require hydration with intravenous (IV) fluids at a hospital. Longer hospitalization may be required if the patient needs more time to recover and recuperate. 

Some important steps to take to control nausea and vomiting:

  • It is best to avoid solid foods until vomiting ends. You should eat light, bland foods, such as bananas, rice, or bread.
  • You should sip liquids to avoid vomiting.
  • It is not advisable to eat fried, greasy, spicy, or sweet foods.
  • Do not take anti-nausea or anti-diarrhea medication without consulting your doctor, since these medicines have side effects and may make your diarrhea worse.

To prevent dehydration:

  • Drink a lot of clear fluids.
  • If vomiting and diarrhea lasts for more than 24 hours, drink an oral rehydration solution.


What Should You Eat When You Have Food Poisoning?

It is advisable to avoid solid foods and stay on a liquid diet till vomiting and diarrhea gets better. However, once you feel better, you can start having foods that are low in fat and bland. For example, you can consume foods like plain rice, banana, chicken broth, boiled vegetables, etc. 


What Should You Not Eat When You Have Food Poisoning?

During food poisoning, you should avoid eating foods that are difficult to digest. For example: 

  • Dairy Products like Milk & Cheese 
  • Foods that are very fatty or even spicy and fried foods 
  • Foods that are very high in sugar 

Over and above this, you should also avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine containing drinks such as coffee, soda or energy drinks. 

To Prevent Food Poisoning At Home:

  • Make sure to wash your hands, utensils, and food surfaces well. Also wash your hands with hot water and soap before and after handling or preparing food. You can also use hot, soapy water to wash utensils, cutting boards and other surfaces that you use while cooking.
  • It is advisable to separate raw foods from ready-to-eat foods. When you are shopping, cooking, or storing food, keeping raw meat, poultry, fish and shellfish away from other foods can prevent cross contamination. 
  • Make sure to cook foods to a safe temperature. It is possible to kill harmful organisms in most foods by cooking them to the right temperature. The best way to confirm if foods are cooked to a right temperature is to use a food thermometer. 
  • The foods which are perishable, you should refrigerate or freeze them as soon as possible – ideally within two hours of buying or making them.
  • It is important to defrost food carefully. If you are using a microwave to defrost frozen food, make sure to cook it immediately.
  • If you are unsure about whether or not the food has been prepared or stored safely, don’t take any chances and just throw it out. Sometimes, even when the food looks or smells fine, it might not be safe to eat. 


How To Differentiate Between Stomach Flu & Food Poisoning?

Stomach Flu and Food Poisoning may not be the same thing, since it depends on the infectious, causative agent in the contaminated food. Stomach flu is a generic term that is used to describe an ailment that resolves itself within 24 hours and is most commonly caused by the adenovirus, Norwalk virus or rotavirus. Doctors and medical professionals generally equate stomach flu to viral gastroenteritis.


Treatment For Food Poisoning in Dubai | First Response Healthcare

First Response Healthcare (FRH) provides Doctor on Call Service in Dubai wherein a doctor will visit you at your home, hospital or hotel in case you are suffering from food poisoning or any other ailments ranging from cold and flu to chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. 

FRH is a leading home healthcare company in Dubai that provides high-quality, patient centered and comprehensive care through prompt and reliable medical services FRH offers services right at your doorstep and they implement international healthcare quality standards and have received the Gold Seal of Approval for meeting the Joint Commission International Standards for Home Healthcare. 

FRH has team of highly competent & DHA licensed doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and medical experts who work 24*7, 365 days a year to deliver home care services right when you need them at a place and location of your preference anywhere within the Emirate of Dubai. 

Features That Make FRH Different: 

  • Time for appointments: Available 24/7 365 days. Even on weekends and public holidays. Always just a call away
  • Time to reach you: We arrive the fastest, within 30* minutes of your call
  • Services Offered In: Entire Emirate of Dubai
  • Where Can We Visit You: Your Home, Hotel or Office
  • To make an appointment, all you need to do is: Call on 0505050387 or 800DIALDOC. Or you can visit:


Doctor On Call Service in Dubai

The team of doctors at FRH are internationally trained and highly experienced. They are compassionate professionals who prioritize the comfort and convenience of the patients. They offer diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of conditions right from fever, cold, migraines and allergic reactions to respiratory conditions, chronic diseases, gastrointestinal illnesses, skin problems among several others. The team of doctor’s work in shifts and they are available 24*7 to offer services at a place of your choice. 

Through our Doctor On Call Service, we ensure that: 

  • Our medical services are supported by qualified and compassionate doctors throughout Dubai.
  • We use, develop, and apply updated, new technology in ways that can benefit our patients and can help us become pioneers
  • Attract the most professional, qualified medical healthcare staff
  • Our customers are highly satisfied with our services and are always open to feedback and suggestions. 

First Response Healthcare Offers: 

  • Premium Service: Our clients and patients get premium experience with treatment and follow-ups done with personalized attention.
  • Diagnostics: Our team also offers and manages laboratory tests sample collection. Results of diagnostics are made available in a prompt manner to facilitate clinical decisions and treatment.
  • Referrals to Specialists: If need be, we also offer specialist referral or referral to an inpatient facility. We also make sure to arrange the necessary transportation that you might need.
  • Diagnosis for All Age Groups: We provide effective care for people from all age groups right from children to the elderly. 
  • Pediatric/Child Care: We also provide child consultation, diagnosis, and treatment in coordination with Referral to a Specialist as required.
  • Pharmacy Delivery: We have partnered with 24-hour pharmacy services to offer access to immediate medication as need be. 
  • Physiotherapy Referral: If required, our doctors will also refer you to our Physiotherapist to help with sports injuries, women’s health, and general physiotherapy.
  • Chronic Diseases: We also offer treatment and diagnosis of chronic conditions including pain management.

To avail our Doctor on Call service near you in Dubai, all you need to do is call on 0505050387 or 800DIALDOC. You can also book an online appointment by visiting

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