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When to See a Doctor For Food Poisoning

Most cases of food poisoning will be mild, but some can be severe and even life-threatening. If in doubt, please call your doctor, poison control, or 911. The Information contained below is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. If you feel that you or someone you know has food poisoning, seek medical attention immediately by visiting your doctor or by dialing 911.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

The National Institutes of Health - When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor if:

  • You have diarrhea and are unable to drink fluids due to nausea or vomiting.
  • You are on diuretics and have diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea lasts for more than 2 to 3 days.
  • There is blood in your stools.
  • You have a fever over 101°F.

Call 911 if:

  • You have signs of dehydration (thirsty, dizzy, lightheaded, faint).
  • Bleeding is excessive or your stools are maroon or black.
  • You are short of breath or having trouble breathing.
  • Your heart is racing, pounding, or skipping.
  • You may have poisoning from mushrooms, fish, or botulism.
  • You have any nervous system symptoms like weakness, double vision, difficulty speaking, or paralysis.
  • You have trouble swallowing.

WebMD - When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you:

  • Have severe diarrhea (such as watery, bloody diarrhea).
  • Have blurred or double vision, muscle weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and headache (symptoms of botulism).
  • Are pregnant and believe that you have been exposed to listeriosis or toxoplasmosis. For more information on toxoplasmosis,
  • Have pain that becomes more intense. The pain will be steady and will get worse when you walk or cough. This may be appendicitis, which may be mistaken for food poisoning.
  • Have signs of severe dehydration. These signs include:
    1. Little or no urine (or wet diapers) for 8 hours or urinating less than 3 times (or less than 3 wet diapers) in 24 hours, usually with one or more of the other signs of dehydration given below.
    2. Doughy skin that doesn't bounce back when pinched.
    3. Sunken eyes or a sunken soft spot (fontenelle) on an infant's head.
    4. Feeling faint, or having low blood pressure.
    5. A fast heart rate.

Children, pregnant women, and people with long-lasting (chronic) conditions, such as diabetes, are more likely to have severe dehydration and should be watched closely for symptoms. For more information, see the topics Diarrhea, Age 11 and Younger, Diarrhea, Age 12 and Older, and Dehydration.

Talk to your health professional if vomiting lasts more than 1 day in adults or diarrhea lasts:

  • More than 2 to 3 days in adults or if you have stomach pain that is not relieved by passing gas or stools.
  • 1 to 2 days in children younger than 4 years old.
  • 8 hours in babies 3 to 6 months old.
  • 4 hours in infants younger than 3 months of age.

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Have you or a loved one suffered food poisoning from consuming contaminated food or beverages?

Contact Poison Control

If you think you have eaten contaminated food, your local Poison Control Center can answer questions and provide information on what to do next. Poison Control Centers are usually listed with other emergency numbers in your telephone book.

Locate a Poison Control Center [1]

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Do I have a Food Poisoning Lawsuit? Talk with a Food Poisoning Lawyer.

The Food Poisoning Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in food poisoning lawsuits. We are handling individual and group outbreak litigation nationwide and currently accepting new food poisoning cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of food poisoning, you should contact our lawyers immediately by using the form below or dialing (866) 588-0600. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries by filing a food poisoning lawsuit and we can help.

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