Should I Be Worried? What Signs to Look for Regarding Possible Food Poisioning?

Updated on February 16, 2007
S.F. asks from Vine Grove, KY
8 answers

Sometimes is sucks being a worry-wort of a mom, lol. My oldest son stayed home from school today because he was throwing up last night and has been running a slight fever and been complaining of his stomach hurting and having chills all day. I figured that he's caught the latest bug that's been going through his school and have been going the usual route of tylenol/motrin and saltine crackers and toast to settle his stomach. I found out on the news that the peanut butter I buy (Peter Pan) has been recalled, and that I had 3 jars of the particular lot number that has been recalled. I asked Airyk if he's eaten any of it in the last couple of days and he told me yes. I called his doctors office and explained to them what has been going on, and they want to see him first thing in the morning. But what do I look out for until then? I used to work in food service along time ago and have forgotten much about food poisioning symptoms other than it takes 24-48 hours for them to manifest, but other than that, I'm not sure. When do I need to go from just worrying to taking him straight to the hospitial?

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So What Happened?

update: so far so good. had the doctors appt. this morning and he told us that at this point, it's almost impossible to tell wether it's the flu or salmonella. i'm supposed to keep an eye on his bowel movements and if i see anything that looks bloody, bring it in for them to test. he's acting like he's feeling better and kept some breakfast down this morning.

More Answers



answers from Lafayette on

This is the worst time of year for an outbreak of food poisoning as it's also flu, pluracy, bronchitis, pnemonia, and cold season. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between the flu and food poisoning. A virus such as the flu usually incubates for 72 hours...that's 3 days that you have it and are contagious that you don't even know that you're sick. And a virus can last anywhere from 72 hours to 14 days for your standard strains, although some virus last longer. For the time being, until you take him to the doctor, treat it like the flu. Offer plenty of clear liquids (tea, kool-aid, gatoraide, sprite, 7-up, jello, popsicles, chicken broth)to keep him propperly hydrated. Allow him to eat normally or as much or little as he likes. If he vomits, wait 2 hours before giving him anything...not even water...that way his stomach can settle. Then after 2 hours give him a tablespoon of water and see if he can hold it down. After about 15 or 20 minutes if the water hasn't come back to visit him, then give him an ounce and see if he can hold it down. Then increase it gradually waiting about 15 to 20 minutes between each increase to see if it will come back up. Once you see he can hold the water down, keep him on a clear liquid diet for the next 24 hours, then slowly start introducing solids such as crackers and dry toast. If he gets diarrhea, avoid fruit juice and things high in fiber. A good way to stiffen the bowls is with boiled rice and bananas. Also keep an eye on his temp. Check it every couple of hours. Anything over 101 and you should take him to the hospital to have him checked out. If he suddenly seems to have trouble breathing, you hear a wheeze, he starts turning blue around the mouth or nailbeds, call 911. And watch his color. Some food poisonings will affect the liver. If he starts looking yellow in his skin or the whites of his eyes (jondice)then he needs to go to the hospital. If he's getting severe stomache pains or cramping that keeps him doubled over in pain, take him to the hospital. If he can't even hold water down, take him to the hospital.
Watch for signs of dehydration...can't produce tears, dry mouth, no urine, eyes look sunken in, lips are dry and cracking, etc...that will warrant a trip the hospital also. Or if you're to scared to wait it out until his doctor can see him, then take him to the hospital...they won't get mad at you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

I had no idea what the answer was and I was curious, so I did a quick search.

It looks like the best thing you can do in the meantime is make sure he doesn't get dehydrated before you get to the doctor's office.

Best of luck to you on this one--please keep the board updated with your son's progress. You guys will be in my thoughts.




answers from Muncie on

Has he been able to keep anything down? If I remember correctly, the body will rid itself of anything and everything one way or another if it's food poisioning. If the light foods and liquids are staying in, then do worry too much. Also if the feaver spikes then take him straight to the hospital, if it just stays slight then don't worry. Good luck.



answers from Indianapolis on

If it's what they said on the t.v., it is not just food poisoning. I would take him straight in!
My son had that poisoning at wound up in the hospital for 3 days.



answers from Elkhart on

I would take him straight to the doctor. No waiting for me. If I couldn't get into the doc, go to the emergency room. Expecially sence there is a recall on the peanut butter. I had some in my cupboard too.



answers from Indianapolis on

I had food poisoning once and couldn't keep anything down. I was violently sick for a few hours. I couldn't even keep crackers or water down. I would definitely have the doctor check him out. Also, food poisoning doesn't last very long. He should be feeling better within 24 hours... not running a marathon or anything, but at least feeling better and able to eat crackers, drink Sprite, water, etc.



answers from Fort Wayne on

I would definately pay close attention to any signs of stomach ache or anything. I had food poisoning once and it was like a terrible case of the flu. I am worry wort too! Better safe than sorry, so get dressed and head to the ER. I hope your son is ok! Good Luck.



answers from Louisville on

Food poisoning from samonella and the stomach flu are equally dangerous. I think the treatment is the same.

When is it necessary to contact a doctor?

If diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours.

If the diarrhea is frequent and intense.

If the patient has severe stomach cramps.

If there is blood in the faeces.

If the patient has fever of 38oC or higher.

If there are signs of jaundice - a yellowish discolouration of the skin or eyes. This may indicate problems with the liver or the bile ducts that take the bile from the liver to the stomach.


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