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Should I Go to Urgent Care for Food Poisoning?

Dec 1, 2023 | Illness & Infections

With the holidays – and the requisite holiday feasts – just around the corner, it’s paramount to ensure we not only fill our bellies but stay safe while doing so. Sure, summer is prime time for spoiled egg salad and other picnic basket perishables, but food poisoning also tends to spike during wintry celebrations. And one may wonder, “Should I go to urgent care for food poisoning?”

The Culprit: Reasons for Food Poisoning

Food poisoning happens when you consume food or beverages contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens.

The most common causes include:

  • Improperly stored or cooked food.
  • Cross-contamination during food prep.
  • Consuming raw or undercooked meats or seafood.
  • Consuming dairy or products that haven’t been refrigerated properly.

Food Poisoning vs. Stomach Bug

Ah, the war of stomach woes! When your stomach begins to churn, it’s vital to discern whether it’s from a questionable turkey sandwich or a lingering bug. Knowing the difference can guide your recovery process.

At first glance, food poisoning and a stomach bug may seem indistinguishable because of their symptoms, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. However, doctors often determine the cause based on various factors:

  • Onset of symptoms: Food poisoning usually occurs within hours of consuming contaminated food, while a stomach virus may take a day or two to manifest.
  • Duration: Food poisoning typically resolves within a day or two, while stomach bugs tend to linger a bit longer.
  • Exposure: If multiple people who ate the same food fall ill, food poisoning is far more likely to be the cause.

Red Flags: When to Head to Urgent Care

When it comes to your health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. While many cases of food poisoning resolve on their own, there are alarming symptoms that should spur you to seek medical attention promptly, including:

  • Severe dehydration (symptoms may include excessive thirst, dark yellow urine, or dizziness).
  • Bloody stools or vomit.
  • Symptoms that persist for more than three days.
  • High fever (over 102°F or 38.9°C).
  • Signs of neurological disorders such as blurred vision, muscle weakness, or tingling.

How Urgent Care Can Help

Suffering from food poisoning is undeniably miserable. But rest assured, urgent care facilities like Quality First are poised and ready to help alleviate your symptoms and get you back on your feet.

Here, our staff is fully equipped to provide a diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.

Our doctors will:

  • Administer necessary treatment for dehydration.
  • Offer anti-nausea or anti-diarrheal medications.
  • Perform tests to determine the exact cause, if necessary.
  • Provide advice on home care and recovery.

Prepping for Safe Holidays

The glow of festive lights and the aroma of delectable dishes set the holiday mood. As you gear up to play the perfect host, take care to ensure the spread you lay out is not only scrumptious but also safe for all.

Here are a few pro tips to host a memorable and meticulous holiday meal.

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling food.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Cook foods to the recommended internal temperature and use a food thermometer.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking.
  • Avoid consuming raw or undercooked eggs and meats.

Don’t compromise on your health this holiday season. If you suspect food poisoning, Quality First Urgent Care is open daily.

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