Hamilton Journal News

Could cramps be from food poisoning?

- By OSU Extension

Q: I had stomach cramps not long after eating food I typically don’t eat. How do I know if I had food poisoning or if it was something else?

A: The symptoms of food poisoning vary depending on the type of germ to which you’ve been exposed, but there are some common signs that can indicate whether you’ve been exposed to a foodborne illness.

The most common signs include stomach cramps, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Some bacteria, such as Listeria can cause flu-like symptoms.

It’s important to note that symptoms of food poisoning can range from mild to serious and that some of them can come on as quickly as 30 minutes after you eat or as long as four weeks after you’ve eaten something that contains a foodborne pathogen, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The time it takes for symptoms of a foodborne illness to manifest really depends on the germ. For example, according to the CDC, if you consume foods that are contaminat­ed with

Staphyloco­ccus aureus (staph), symptoms could appear as soon as 30 minutes to six hours later.

Clostridiu­m perfringen­s, symptoms could appear as soon as six to 24 hours later.

Norovirus, symptoms could appear as soon as 12 to 48 hours later.

Salmonella, symptoms could appear as soon as 12 to 72 hours later.

Clostridiu­m botulinum (botulism), symptoms could appear as soon as 18 to 36 hours later.

Vibrio vulnificus, symptoms could appear as soon as one to four days later.

Campylobac­ter, symptoms could appear as soon as two to five days later.

E. coli, symptoms could appear three to four days later.

Cyclospora, symptoms could appear one week later.

Listeria monocytoge­nes, symptoms could appear one to four weeks later.

Some people may experience symptoms that last several hours or several days, said Sanja Ilic, the state food safety specialist for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultur­al, and Environmen­tal Sciences (CFAES).

“While most people experience only a mild illness, people with underlinin­g conditions that weaken their immune system may experience severe outcomes that require them to be hospitaliz­ed,” she said.

So how do you know if you should see a doctor for your symptoms? The CDC advises people to seek medical attention for severe symptoms, including:

Blood in your stool.

A high fever, typically over 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, measured with an oral thermomete­r.

Diarrhea that lasts more than three days.

Frequent vomiting that prevents you from keeping down liquids, as this can lead to dehydratio­n.

Signs of dehydratio­n, which can be marked by a decrease in urination, a very dry mouth and throat, or feeling dizzy upon standing.

Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultur­al, and Environmen­tal Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultur­al Research and Developmen­t Center. Send questions to Chow Line author Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

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