ABC Medical Center > Food poisoning

What is Food poisoning?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is a condition caused by consuming food or water contaminated with infectious biological agents such as bacteria, parasites, viruses, or their toxins.

These harmful organisms can contaminate food from its source and during its processing or preparation, so infection usually occurs after eating or drinking outdoors, in cafes or restaurants, but it can also occur at home, so it is important to verify hygiene when preparing food and not to consume it raw or without any disinfection.

There are diverse contamination sources:

  • Unpurified water.
  • Frozen or refrigerated food not stored at the correct temperature.
  • Food prepared by a person who did not perform proper hand hygiene.
  • Food prepared using contaminated cookware.
  • Undercooked or raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs.
  • Raw, poorly washed, or not disinfected fruits or vegetables.
  • Dairy products that have been out of the refrigerator for a long time.

Babies, infants, pregnant women, and older adults are the most susceptible to food poisoning.

Signs and symptoms Food poisoning

Symptoms can appear hours or days after eating food, depending on the origin of the poisoning, but the most common signs are:

  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Weakness.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Headache.
  • High fever.
  • Chills.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomit.

If in addition to these symptoms you have:

  • No or little urine.
  • Intense abdominal cramps.
  • Blood in stool or vomit.
  • Muscle weakness and tingling in the arms.
  • Diarrhea for more than three days.
  • Inability to retain liquids.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Blurry vision.

Go immediately to the ABC Medical Center Emergency Room to receive medical attention, do not put your health at risk.

Diagnosis and treatment Food poisoning

Through a physical examination, the symptoms you present, the food consumed, and your medical history, the doctor will request blood and stool tests to detect the poisoning origin and to be able to diagnose it properly.

The treatment to be followed will depend on the cause of the poisoning and the severity of the symptoms, but generally includes:

  • Antibiotics.
  • Painkillers.
  • Antispasmodics.
  • Antidiarrheals.
  • Anti-inflammatories.
  • Oral or intravenous rehydration.
  • Rest.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Pérez PI. Bacillus cereus y su papel en las intoxicaciones alimentarias. Revista Cubana de Salud Pública. 2012;38(1):98-108.
  • Ezquerra OA, Bueno AGM, Torres GKS, et al. Intoxicación alimentaria por clembuterol, padecimiento subdiagnosticado. Acta Med. 2019;17(4):406-408.
  • Ávila-Arcos MA, Méndez-Gómez HI, Morales-Rúan MC, et al. La inseguridad alimentaria y factores asociados en hogares mexicanos con casos de Covid-19. Salud Pública México. 2021;63(6):751-762.

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.