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Food Poisoning Treatment Overview

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Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • Mild or early symptoms of food poisoning can be treated at home and will usually get better in a few days.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, eat a bland diet (crackers, toast, oatmeal, rice), and use heat packs for stomach cramps
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When you may need a provider

  • Your symptoms last longer than 3 days.
  • You have symptoms of dehydration, like dark urine, being thirsty.
  • Your symptoms are severe.
  • Young children, older adults, pregnant people, or people with weak immune systems should call a doctor.
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Emergency Care

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Go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • You are unable to eat or drink anything
  • You feel dizzy or faint
  • You feel very dehydrated (very thirsty with decreased urination and fatigue)
  • Blood in the stool or vomit
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Blurry vision or numbness

The suppliers listed follow Buoy’s clinical guidelines, but listing the suppliers does not constitute a referral or recommendation by Buoy. When you click on the link and/or engage with these services Buoy will be compensated.

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All treatments for food poisoning
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Read more about food poisoning care options

When to see a healthcare provider

If your symptoms are not improving after 2–3 days or you feel like you cannot drink enough fluids, see a healthcare provider.

Children, pregnant women, or immunocompromised people should call a healthcare provider.

Getting diagnosed

Your provider may order stool tests to diagnose a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection.  If your provider thinks you may be dehydrated, they may order blood tests to check your electrolytes. If you have persistent symptoms that last for weeks, you may need testing by your doctor for other conditions that can cause chronic nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

What to expect from your visit

  • Your healthcare provider will check you for dehydration.
  • If the stool tests are positive for a bacteria, like Campylobacter, E. Coli, Listeria, or Salmonella, your doctor may treat you with a course of antibiotics.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe anti-nausea or anti-diarrheal medications that are more effective than OTC versions.
  • If you have severe dehydration or bloody stools, fever, severe abdominal pain, or weakness, you may be referred to the emergency room, where treatment could include IV (intravenous) fluids and medications.

Prescription medications for food poisoning

  • Ondansetron (Zofran)
  • Metoclopramide (Reglan)
  • Loperamide (Imodium)
  • Diphenoxylate / Atropine (Lomotil)
  • Azithromycin (Z-pack)
  • Ciprofloxacin

Types of providers

  • A primary care provider can treat mild to moderate symptoms.
  • A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in digestive illness, and may be needed if your food poisoning is not going away or you may have other chronic conditions.
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