Most cases of food poisoning are mild, lasting from one to three days. Since many people do not seek medical care, their food poisoning is not diagnosed.
Though your symptoms may sound suspicious, the only way to know for sure if you have food poisoning is to test the offending food or check the stool, blood, or vomit.
Chemical or toxin food poisoning can usually be diagnosed by a description of symptoms and by testing food potentially responsible for the poisoning.
The goal of treatment is to replace fluids and
electrolytes lost through vomiting and diarrhea. If
dehydration is severe and cannot be managed at home, you may need treatment in
the hospital, where fluids and electrolytes may be given to you by inserting a
needle into your vein (intravenously).
To prevent dehydration, take
frequent sips of a
rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Try to drink a cup of water or rehydration drink for each large,
loose stool you have. Soda
and fruit juices have too much sugar and not enough of the important
electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea and they should not be used to rehydrate. You can
make your own rehydration drink.
Try to stay with your normal
diet as much as possible. Eating your usual diet will help you to get enough
nutrition. Doctors believe that eating a normal diet will also help you feel
better faster. But try to avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. Also
avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and coffee for 2 days after all symptoms have
Symptoms of mild dehydration in your child include being irritable, agitated, fussy, or
restless and urinating less frequently than usual.
Symptoms of moderate dehydration include a decreased interest
in play, sunken eyes with few tears, and urinating fewer than 3 times in 24
Symptoms of severe dehydration
include a lack of interest in playing, extreme sleepiness, a dry mouth and
tongue, fast breathing, a rapid heartbeat, and not urinating for more than 12
hours. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency. Call911or other emergency services immediately.
For children who are breast-feeding or bottle-feeding,
continue the regular breast milk or formula feeding as much as possible. You
may have to feed at more frequent intervals to replace lost fluids. Give an
oral rehydration solution (ORS), such as Pedialyte, between feedings only if
you see signs of dehydration.
For older children, give ½ cup
[4 fl oz (118 mL)] to 1 cup
[8 fl oz (237 mL)] of water,
milk, or a rehydration drink each hour, and try to keep feeding your child his
or her usual diet. Foods to try include potatoes, chicken breast without the
skin, cereal, yogurt, and fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid foods that have a
lot of fat or sugar. Supplement feedings with small sips or spoonfuls of a
rehydration drink or clear liquid every few minutes.