PLANO – Millions of people in the United States get sick from contaminated food. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in six Americans – roughly 48 million people – get sick; 128,000 are hospitalized; 3,000 die of food-borne diseases every year.
Dr. Jay Woody, co-founder and chief medical officer of Plano-based Legacy ER & Urgent Care stated in a press release there are more than 200 food-borne organisms that can cause food poisoning, and there are more than 250 different diseases that are the result of food poisoning. Some of the most common are infections caused by bacteria, such as campylobacter, salmonella, shigella, escherichia coli 0157:H7 (E. coli), listeria, botulism and norovirus.
“Food poisoning occurs when food or water contaminated with harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins is eaten or drunk. Most cases are caused by common bacteria, such as staphylococcus or E. coli. However, other symptoms or problems can be caused by eating contaminated food,” Woody stated.
Per the U.S. National Library of Medicine, food poisoning can occur after eating or drinking:
- Any food prepared by someone who does not wash their hands properly
- Any food prepared using cooking utensils, cutting boards and other tools that are not fully cleaned
- Dairy products or food containing mayonnaise (such as coleslaw or potato salad) that have been out of the refrigerator too long
- Frozen or refrigerated foods that are not stored at the proper temperature or are not reheated to the right temperature
- Raw fish or oysters
- Raw fruits or vegetables that have not been washed well
- Raw vegetable or fruit juices and dairy products (look for the word “pasteurized,” which means the food has been treated to prevent contamination)
- Undercooked meats or eggs
- Water from a well or stream, or city or town water that has not been treated
How to detect food poisoning? The onset of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe and include upset stomach, are abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever and dehydration.
“Most of the time patients recover from the most common types of food poisoning within 12 – 48 hours,” Woody stated. “The treatment we primarily prescribe is rehydration of fluids to help with dehydration, especially in children and the elderly.Some patients may benefit from medication to reduce nausea and vomiting.”
When is a doctor visit needed for food-borne illnesses? If the patient has a high fever, blood in his or her stool, prolonged vomiting, extensive dehydration or a diarrheal illness that lasts more than three days, a doctor should be consulted, Woody stated.
Legacy ER & Urgent Care has seven operating emergency rooms and urgent cares in Allen, Coppell, Frisco, Keller, McKinney and North Richland Hills, Texas. Its urgent care hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and emergency room services are accessible 24/7, 365 days a year. The typical wait time before being seen is less than five minutes. Online check-in is available and walk-ins are welcome.