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When should I call a doctor about the symptoms of food poisoning?

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A mild case of food poisoning usually passes on its own with nothing more than rest and lots of fluids. You should call a doctor, however, if you or a loved one have:

  • Any signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, little or no urination, dizziness, or sunken eyes
  • Any diarrhea in a newborn or infant
  • Inability to hold down liquids without vomiting
  • Diarrhea that lasts longer than 2 days (1 day in a child) or is severe
  • Severe gut pain or vomiting
  • Fever of 102°F or higher, or a rectal temperature of 100.4°F in a baby younger than 3 months 
  • Stools that are black, tarry, or bloody
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling in your arms
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea or flulike illness in pregnant women
  • Jaundice (yellow skin), which can be a sign of hepatitis A

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Food Poisoning.”

UCLA Health: “Food Poisoning.”

FoodSafety.gov: “Symptoms of Food Poisoning.”

Kliegman, R.  19th Edition, Saunders, 2011. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics,

National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse: "Diarrhea."

Feldman, M.  , 9th Edition, Saunders, 2010. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease

FamilyDoctor.org: “Food Poisoning,” "Fever in Infants and Children: Treatment."

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas on April 03, 2019

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Food Poisoning.”

UCLA Health: “Food Poisoning.”

FoodSafety.gov: “Symptoms of Food Poisoning.”

Kliegman, R.  19th Edition, Saunders, 2011. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics,

National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse: "Diarrhea."

Feldman, M.  , 9th Edition, Saunders, 2010. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease

FamilyDoctor.org: “Food Poisoning,” "Fever in Infants and Children: Treatment."

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas on April 03, 2019

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