Foodborne Illnesses: What You Need to Know

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By: Dr. Sharon Thompson, MD, MPH, FACOG
Managing Director, Central Phoenix Obstetrics and Gynecology

(3TV)--It seems like every week we hear about another foodborne illness (commonly called food poisoning or stomach flu). Each year, 48 million people in the U.S. get ill from bacteria or other microbes that are ingested with food. Fortunately, most cases are mild, the last one to three days and do not require medical attention.

Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. You may have only one or all of these symptoms. During the illness, it is normal to have a decrease in appetite and food intake. The most important factor during this time is getting enough fluids.

There are things you can do to reduce the chance of infection.

Clean: Wash fruits and vegetables with mild soap and water. Wash hands and surfaces often.

Separate: Separate meat from other foods and separately cooked meat from raw.

Cook: Cook to temperatures, not time. Use a food thermometer and check published charts to find the right temperature.

Chill: Refrigerate foods promptly. Thaw food in the refrigerator rather than on the countertop.

Some people need to see a doctor or be admitted to the hospital. If you experience the following, seek medical attention:

  • fever
  • bloody diarrhea
  • inability to keep fluids down for 24 hours
  • fainting
  • other symptoms concerning to you

As food continues to be grown and processed in large quantities, contamination with microbes is a reality. A combination of careful food handling by food producers and at home can reduce the chance of becoming ill.

For more information on Central Phoenix Obstetrics and Gynecology, click here

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