Symptoms Of Food Poisoning You Shouldn't Ignore

Feeling ill after enjoying a nice meal is truly unpleasant, and in some cases it can be worrying. Thankfully, most cases of food poisoning are mild and clear up on their own. But there are instances when you should pay close attention, and perhaps seek treatment.

Food poisoning happens when someone eats food that has bacteria, a virus, or a parasite in it, according to the Mayo Clinic. There are many ways food can become contaminated, including improper storage and preparation. Health Digest spoke with Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, board-certified Gastroenterologist, Clinical Associate Professor at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and medical advisor to Cure Hydration, about when it's ok to ride out the symptoms, and when to pay more attention.

Dr. Rajapaksa said that abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are all common signs of food poisoning. Care at home should include replacing electrolytes and fluids that are being lost. Avoid caffeine and don't forget about options like chicken broth and sucking on ice chips when you just can't stomach anything else (via Healthline).

Here's when to consult a doctor

More concerning symptoms that should be watched for include, "signs of dehydration (dizziness, lightheadedness, decreased urination), protracted vomiting where you cannot keep anything down, blood in the stool or urine, high fever above 100.4, severe abdominal pain," Rajapaksa added.

In these cases it's time to get professional medical help. "If you have the above-mentioned concerning symptoms you should seek medical attention. Otherwise, keep a bland light diet with hydrating fluids, and avoiding dairy and vegetables until the symptoms improve. If they do not resolve within 48 to 72 hours, seek medical attention," she advised.

Bland food options might include bananas, oatmeal, potatoes, crackers, toast, applesauce, rice, and cereal.

If a contaminant gets into food during the manufacturing process, it's hard to avoid it, but there are a few things you can do at home to protect yourself. Besides looking for signs of spoilage and discarding questionable food, be sure you're practicing safe handling techniques and storage at proper temperatures. Cook meats to recommended temperatures and be sure to wash hands and surfaces thoroughly as you handle raw meat.

And be sure to give yourself some grace if you do come down with food poisoning. Give your body time to rest and heal.