Food Poisoning:

Knowing the Cause of Symptoms

The symptoms associate with food-borne illness are not exclusive to it. That is to say, many other illness, such as the flu, can cause the same symptoms. Because of this, a good indication of the cause can be garnered by looking to your family, friends, colleagues, and those with whom you come in contact. If the flu is going around, then your symptoms are probably because of the flu. However, if you shared a meal with friends and some or all got sick, this points toward a food-related illness as the culprit. Obviously, the best way to get a definitive answer is to consult a healthcare professional.

The diagnosis of a food-related illness usually requires a laboratory test that is specifically ordered by the physician. Stool samples are the most common way of identifying bacterial and parasitic infections. Viruses, due to their extremely small size, are far more difficult to identify, but a stool sample can still possibly detect them. Some types of food-related illness cannot be diagnosed without expensive specialized tests. Millions of cases go undiagnosed each year because people do not seek the source of their symptoms. In all cases of illness, regardless of the cause, it is important to seek immediate medical attention when symptoms, such as those for food-related illness, are severe.

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