Food Poisoning and Sore Throat

Food poisoning-related vomiting can cause sore throat.
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Improperly prepared, stored and/or served food products can attract bacteria or germs that can lead you to a very unpleasant condition: food poisoning. While vomiting is one of the most common food poisoning symptoms, certain bacteria known to cause food poisoning can lead to sore throat and flu-like symptoms. If you experience a sore throat during or following food poisoning, there are treatments to minimize your symptoms. Always talk with your physician when you suspect you have food poisoning as some varieties can be deadly.



Consuming contaminated food items can cause a seemingly immediate rejection of the food by your stomach, resulting in severe nausea and vomiting. While this usually subsides within 24 hours, the vomiting of gastric juices can lead to a raw and sore throat. Gastric juices are highly acidic, which may result in difficulty swallowing and pain. After your food poisoning subsides, you can take steps to reduce painful symptoms.


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If your throat feels itchy, sore and dry after experiencing food poisoning, you can use some treatment methods to relieve pain. Once you are able to tolerate fluids, try to drink as much water as possible to restore the fluid balance in your body and reduce soreness. Electrolyte-containing beverages such as sports drinks also can help to restore sodium and potassium lost after a food poisoning episode. Additionally, use a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer to restore moisture to your throat. Avoiding cigarette smoke, alcohol and caffeine also can help to minimize throat dryness.


Pathogens and Symptoms

Sometimes bacteria associated with food poisoning can also cause a sore throat. This is true for the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Symptoms associated with this bacteria take about 12 to 72 hours to manifest and can include symptoms such as sore throat, fever, nausea, vomiting, stuffy nose and a rash. Another bacteria called the Corynebacterium diptheriae can cause a sore throat, nasal inflammation, fever, chills, trouble swallowing and a general feeling of malaise. The symptoms from both of these bacteria closely resemble that of strep throat and the flu. For this reason, your physician may recommend taking a throat culture or swab of your throat to determine what bacteria type is growing in your throat.


If food poisoning-related bacteria are the cause of your sore throat, your physician may prescribe an antibiotic to kill off the bacteria and reduce your symptoms. Taking the full course of this antibiotic is important to ensure the bacteria have been fully eradicated. Because bacteria-related food poisoning can be highly contagious, it is important to locate the contaminated food source to prevent further infections from occurring. Additionally, you should observe careful hygiene practices, such as hand washing after every time you cough.




Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.

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