A 18 year old patient was seen for vomiting and diarrhea of 4 hours duration. The patient had several vomiting and diarrhea in last 3 hours. The patient felt weak and felt like passing out. Dr. Usha Jain examined her, ordered blood tests and urine tests. The patient was dehydrated and was given 1 liter of fluids. The patient felt much better after an IV fluids. The patient was also given the injection of phenergan for nausea and antibiotics for infection. The patient ate in a restaurant night before and ate left over food for lunch next day. The patient started to have fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The patient was diagnosed to have gasteroenteritis.
The patient responded well to the treatment and felt better next day.
stomach flu usually refers to viral gastroenteritis. Stomach flu is a non-specific term that describes an illness that usually resolves within 24 hours and is caused commonly by the adenovirus, Norwalk virus or rotavirus, most commonly found in children.
If numerous cases of “stomach flu” occur in a situation where many people have been eating, it certainly may be considered food poisoning. Norwalk virus is responsible for many cases of food borne illness outbreaks on cruise ships.
Food poisoning might be described as a food borne disease. Food that contains a toxin, chemical or infectious agent (like a bacterium, virus, parasite) and cause symptoms in the body are considered types of food poisoning. Those symptoms may be related only to the gastrointestinal tract causing vomiting or diarrhea or may involve other organs such as the kidney, brain or muscle.
Typically most food borne diseases cause vomiting and diarrhea that tend to be short lived and resolve on their own, but dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities may develop.
What are the types of food poisoning?
Most frequently, food poisoning may be due to infection caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites. Sometimes it is not the bacteria that causes the problem but the toxin that bacteria produce in the food before it is eaten. This is the case with Staphylococcal food poisoning and with botulism.
Other illnesses may involve chemical toxins that are produced in certain foods that are poorly cooked or stored. For example, scombroid poisoning occurs due to a large release of histamine chemical from the fish when it is eaten. It causes facial swelling, itching, and difficulty breathing and swallowing – just like an allergic reaction. Scombroid poisoning is sometimes confused with a shellfish allergy.
Some “food poisonings” may be not be due to toxins or chemicals in food but to infectious agents that happen to contaminate the food. E. coli O157:H7 (hemorrhagic E. coli) usually occurs when contaminated food is eaten,