“My tummy hurts.”
If you’re a parent, you’ve almost certainly heard that before. And, if you haven’t, you will eventually. Probably soon. Here are some of the symptoms to be on the lookout for, and what they mean.
Food Poisoning Symptoms
Food poisoning occurs when you eat a food that is contaminated with infectious bacteria or other organisms like E.coli, viruses, or parasites.
Symptoms vary depending on exactly what type of infection you have, but might include abdominal pain, which can become quite severe, a loss of appetite, watery diarrheal, nausea and vomiting, fever, and fatigue.
Usually, symptoms appear within a few hours of eating the contaminated food, but exposure to certain contaminants might not be apparent until a few weeks after exposure. This can sometimes make it difficult to source the cause of the poisoning.
Dehydration is often a secondary symptom which is caused by excessive vomiting and diarrheal. Exposure to some kinds of bacteria can even be fatal to unborn babies, with certain bacterial strains of E.coli causing kidney failure.
If you suspect that your child has suffered from food poisoning, you should call your doctor or go to an emergency room, and then consult with an attorney (if you suspect the cause was negligence on the part of a business).
Doctors will typically recommend immediately replacing lost fluids and, if severe, may prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection.
A stomach virus is an organism that attacks the intestines, causing watery diarrheal, nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, muscle aches, and headache. It’s usually not fatal, but symptoms can make it feel that way. Your child will usually become sick within one or two days after exposure to a source, and the illness will last for a few days up to 10 days.
Dehydration is the primary secondary symptom, caused by excessive diarrhea and vomiting.
Doctors usually prescribe rest because there is no effective treatment for viruses. Replacement of lost fluids is also recommended, with elimination of solid foods for a few days. Your child will probably do best on a diet of soups and bland foods like toast, rice, and potatoes until he or she is over the bug.
Avoid dairy products and spicy foods, as well as fatty foods.
Sources Of Contamination
Food poisoning usually occurs when food is contaminated, whether at home or out. Always keep your hands and cooking surfaces clean and keep hot and cold foods hot and cold, respectively. Cook foods safely and thoroughly.
When eating out, inspect what you can before eating there. A good way to determine whether a kitchen is clean is by looking at the front of the house, and the bathrooms. If the bathrooms are not well-kept, there’s a change that attention to detail in the kitchen is lacking too.
Stomach viruses are usually passed from one infected person to another. Avoid contact with an infected person or anything he or she has touched. Wash your child’s hands thoroughly and often, especially before your he or she eats.
So, while you want your child to have fun. You should also look after those toys. It may keep them (and you) from falling ill with the next round of whatever is going around.
Elliot Barrett is a registered nurse. He loves to write about his experiences on the web. His articles are available mainly on health websites.