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Food Poisoning

Foodborne Bacterial Illness

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Updated January 23, 2014

Abdominal pain and nausea caused by foodborne bacteria is commonly misnamed food poisoning. Food poisoning can cause severe pain, nausea, and diarrhea in victims. The effects of food poisoning can lead to serious dehydration. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) provides information on bacteria and foodborne illness. The following are some facts about foodborne illness from the NDDIC.

Causes of Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness)

Many different bacteria can lead to foodborne illness. Cooked food left at room temperature for more than two hours may grow bacteria. In most cases, bacteria do not color food or create an odor.

Most raw food is contaminated with bacteria when it's purchased. The following are the most common types of bacteria; included are links to explanations of each.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness)

The most common symptoms of foodborne illness are: Victims need to call 911 if they have any of the following symptoms, with or without gastrointestinal symptoms:
  1. Chest pain
  2. Signs of shock
    • weak or rapid pulse
    • shallow breathing
    • cold, clammy, pale skin
    • shaking or chills
  3. Signs of severe dehydration
    • dry mouth
    • sticky saliva
    • decreased urine output
    • dizziness
    • fatigue
    • sunken eyes
    • low blood pressure
    • increased heart rate and breathing
  4. Confusion or difficulty reasoning.
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