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How do I know if I have food poisoning?

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Many times, your doctor will diagnose food poisoning based simply on your symptoms.

Some 250 different bacteria, viruses, and parasites can cause food poisoning. While the main symptoms are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps, you also may have a fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, or blood in your stool. You may also be dehydrated, so your mouth and throat feel dry and you don’t pee as often as you typically do. Dehydration can make you dizzy when you stand up. Rarely, food poisoning can cause blurry or double vision, tingling, or weakness.

SOURCES:

PubMed Health: “Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness).”

CDC: “Be Food Safe: Protect Yourself from Food Poisoning,” “Salmonella: Diagnosis and Treatment,” “Staphylococcal Food Poisoning,” “Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illnesses.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Food poisoning (foodborne illness) (Beyond the Basics).”

American Family Physician : “Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illness,” Evaluation of Nausea and Vomitting.”

Medscape: “Food Poisoning Workup.”

FDA: “Foodborne Illnesses: What You Need to Know.”

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Repor t: “Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illnesses.”

Clinical Microbiology Reviews : “Laboratory Diagnosis of Bacterial Gastroenteritis.”

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on May 23, 2019

SOURCES:

PubMed Health: “Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness).”

CDC: “Be Food Safe: Protect Yourself from Food Poisoning,” “Salmonella: Diagnosis and Treatment,” “Staphylococcal Food Poisoning,” “Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illnesses.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Food poisoning (foodborne illness) (Beyond the Basics).”

American Family Physician : “Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illness,” Evaluation of Nausea and Vomitting.”

Medscape: “Food Poisoning Workup.”

FDA: “Foodborne Illnesses: What You Need to Know.”

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Repor t: “Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illnesses.”

Clinical Microbiology Reviews : “Laboratory Diagnosis of Bacterial Gastroenteritis.”

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on May 23, 2019

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How can stool cultures help check for food poisoning?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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