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Early Signs of Food Poisoning

author image Shemiah Williams
Shemiah Williams has been writing for various websites since 2009 and also writes for "Parle Magazine." She holds a bachelor's degree in business and technology and a master's degree in clinical psychology. Williams serves as a subject matter expert in many areas of health, relationships and professional development.
Early Signs of Food Poisoning
If not cooked properly, food can make you very sick. Photo Credit Taiwan - Food market / Asian Food image by Stéphan SZEREMETA from Fotolia.com

Food poisoning, also known as food borne illness, occurs after you consume food that has been contaminated before or during its preparation. According to the Mayo Clinic, not everyone who consumes contaminated food will get food poisoning; it depends on the probability of bacteria surviving in your internal environment. Food poisoning may start within a few hours or signs may not show up for a few days.

Nausea and Vomiting

One of the earliest signs of food poisoning is nausea, states the Mayo Clinic. This is a direct sign that your body is having difficulty accepting the food you consumed. Nausea may lead to vomiting, but not in all cases. Many patients report feeling slightly better after vomiting.

Difficulty Digesting Food

The bacteria found in the contaminated food can alter your body's ability to digest the food. This can result in diarrhea that is watery in consistency or even clear. In severe cases, you might notice blood in the diarrhea. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some patients also experience abdominal pain and stomach cramps. It is important to notify your physician immediately so he can monitor the progression of your symptoms. It is equally important for you to remain hydrated, as you may be losing excess fluids with the diarrhea.

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Loss of Appetite

According to the Mayo Clinic, loss of appetite is quite common with food poisoning especially as your body attempts to rid itself of the contaminated food eaten previously. It is, however, important to eat in order to maintain your energy level. Choose bland foods such as broths, crackers, rice or potatoes, especially if you are experiencing nausea. Avoid high fat or spicy foods as well as dairy products.

Flu-Like Symptoms

You may feel as if you are coming down with the flu in the hours after eating the contaminated food. In addition to nausea, you may feel fatigued or weak. Some patients develop a fever and experience chills. Monitor the progression of your symptoms and keep your doctor updated to provide her with insight on the most effective method of treatment.

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