Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
People should seek medical care if they have an associated fever, blood
in their stool, signs and symptoms of dehydration, or if their symptoms do not resolve after a couple of days.
Treatment focuses on keeping the affected individual well hydrated.
Most cases of food poisoning resolve on their own.
Prevention is key and depends upon keeping food preparation areas clean,proper hand washing, and cooking foods thoroughly.
What is food poisoning?
Food poisoning might be described as a food borne disease. Food that contains a toxin, chemical or infectious agent (like a bacterium, virus, parasite, or
prion) and cause symptoms in the body are considered types of food poisoning by most health care professional. Those symptoms may be related only to the gastrointestinal
tract causing vomiting or diarrhea or may involve other organs
such as the kidney, brain, or muscle.
Typically most food borne diseases cause vomiting and diarrhea that tend to be short lived and resolve on their own, but
dehydration and electrolyte
abnormalities may develop. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year approximately 48 million people become ill from food related diseases each year
resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths.
According to the CDC, in 2011, the most common foodborne
illnesses in the United States each year are caused by Norovirus, and the bacteria Campylobacter, Clostridiumperfringens, and Salmonella.
Reviewed by Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD on 10/3/2013
Viewer Question: Is it necessary to conduct a culture of feces or vomit
in order to determine that a patient suffers from food poisoning?
Doctor's Response: Food poisoning is a general term that refers to gastrointestinal illnesses (usually diarrhea and/or vomiting) caused by food that is contaminated with:
The diagnosis of food poisoning usually is made only presumptively, based on the affected individual's symptoms and the circumstances. Even in outbreaks of suspected food poisoning that involve many people, when careful studies are done, a specific cause is found no more than half of the time.