Tag Archives: food poisoning

Food Poisoning Facts

  • According to the CDC approximately 48 million (1 in 6) Americans contract food poisoning each year
  • Foodborne illness is preventable with proper hygiene and caution.
  • 128, 000 of these people end up in the hospital for their poisoning, and over 3,000 die annually.
  • Food poisoning affects the gastrointestinal tract in different ways depending on the person and the responsible illness, common symptoms include: diarrhea, vomiting, intestinal pain and cramping and fever.
  • Food poisoning is caused by food that is inadvertently contaminated by harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and other infectious organisms that are poisonous to humans. It can also be caused by traces of toxic chemicals.
  • The Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which presents as botulism can cause one of the more severe forms of food poisoning, leading to vision problems, muscle weakness, dizziness or even respiratory failure (resulting in death). It is most often caused by contaminated canned foods.
  • Aside from the immunocompromised, pregnant women, young children and the elderly are most likely to become more seriously poisoned.
  • It is recommended pregnant women refrain from eating any deli or sandwich meats as they may have traces of listeria that can be dangerous (or fatal) for an unborn baby.
  • There are over 250 types of known foodborne infections and illnesses.
  • Certain filter-feeding shellfish (like oysters) take in harmful ocean microbes or from sewage ejected into the sea.
  • Pre-made salad and greens can be the worst food to eat as it is often contaminated with fecal matter when washed and packaged. It is much safer to buy veggies and wash and prepare them yourself. This is a common reason for travel illness.
  • Generally speaking, unless you prepare food yourself you can never really be sure it isn’t contaminated.
  • Water that is without proper filtration is also a common cause of food poisoning during travel.
  • The CDC suggests the most common type of food poisoning is the norovirus which is caused by salmonella, clostridium perfringens and campylobacter.
  • Meats are sometimes contaminated during the animal’s slaughter with bacteria from their intestines that are healthy for animals but harmful to humans.


When to See The Doc

Most cases of foodborne illness resolve themselves after an unpleasant few days, but if your stomach sickness continues for more than 3 or 4 days, if there is blood present in your stool or vomit, if you can’t even keep liquid down, are dehydrated, experiencing dizziness or blurry vison or a persistent temperature of 101.d degrees or higher, it is time to seek medical help. If you have any questions about food poisoning or particular symptoms, feel free to sign up to DocChat today to try a video consultation with one of our highly qualified physicians! Thanks for visiting!

Tips For Healthy Travel (Part 2)

Traveling can greatly increase your risk on contracting contagious or mosquito-carried illnesses, which can not only put a damper on your trip but also could seriously impact your health. There are various precautionary measures you can take to prevent illness (check out our “Tips For Healthy Travels (Part 1)” if you haven’t already caught it). Some things you can do to decrease your chances of sickness during your vacation are:

Be Careful of Local Eats

Food poisoning due to contamination is one of the leading causes of traveler gastrointestinal distress via such bacteria as E. coli, shigella and salmonella. Be careful what you are eating by watching food choices and checking out the cleanliness of the establishment before placing your order. Avoid pre-made salads, foods that could have been sitting out all day (like at amusement parks), meats that could potentially be under-cooked or shared buffet-style foods.

Don’t Let The Sun Make You Sick

A couple other types of illness that can ruin your trip and cause you undue strife are caused by the sun. You can easily get heatstroke if you are spending longs days in the hot sun, or exercising in hot weather without proper hydration or sun protection. Heatstroke can be mild, causing nausea and discomfort or it can be serious, causing syncope (fainting spells), vomiting and diarrhea, fevers and worse. Similarly, bad sun burns can be debilitating, causing similar symptoms. If both of these conditions are severe enough, they may even require hospitalization. Be sure to protect yourself against the sun with plenty of sun block, hats, proper clothing and perhaps most importantly, adequate hydration (with clean bottled water, not foreign tap water).

Protect Yourself Against Mosquito-Carried Illness

Mosquitos can strike anywhere, but if you are traveling to a high-risk part of the world you have a higher chance of contracting unpleasant or dangerous illnesses like the Zika virus, Dengue Fever or malaria. Some preventative measures you can take against mosquito bites are to sleep under mosquito nets when needed, continually coat yourself in insect repellant, hang out in air conditioned spaces when the mosquitos are especially bad (they won’t follow), and wear covering clothing when possible.

Get Up-To-Date On Vaccinations

Possibly the single most important preventative measure against getting sick while traveling is to get the proper vaccinations and immunizations, especially region-specific vaccines to protect you against conditions such as yellow fever when traveling to places where it is especially prevalent. Be sure to visit your doctor about 2 months before traveling to ensure you get the proper vaccinations in time before traveling.

Thanks for visiting DocChat, if you have any questions feel free to sign up and start a video consultation with one of our qualified physicians. Happy travels!


Tips For Healthy Travels (Part 1)


It is true that you can get sick anywhere as we are constantly surrounded by contagions and contaminated surfaces, but when traveling that risk is increased tenfold with exposure to new bacteria, viruses and contaminants that your system is not used to. That is why it is important to take extra precautionary measures when traveling.

The Importance of On-The-Go Hygiene

  • Unfortunately, not everyone is careful about hand hygiene, but it is one of the most important preventative measures you can take against bugs like the nova virus, gastroenteritis, the flu or hepatitis A.
  • brush your teeth with bottled water, you never know how clean the drinking water is in your new environment. You could be saving yourself terrible illness by sticking to bottled water for drinking, face washing and teeth brushing.

Potential Health Risks in Your Hotel Room

  • A 2012 microbiology study showed high levels of fecal matter and other harmful microbes on hotel lamps, surfaces and door knobs. So try to wipe down surfaces if you can.
  • Bedbugs have been on the rise all over the world, and are often found in hotels. Be sure to perform a diagonal corner check on the bed, look under every layer down to the mattress for any bugs or abnormalities. Be careful where you lay your luggage. Bedbugs can leave small hive-like rashes or even trigger an allergic reaction in rare cases.
  • Allergies can flare up in hotels as there are often harsh cleaners used, down feather pillows and poor air quality. Be sure to take your allergy medication with you when you travel!

Reduce Your Children’s Risk of Travel Illness

  • Children are more vulnerable to germs and contagions because their immune systems are not fully developed and they tend to have germ-spreading habits.
  • Children tend to have poor hand hygiene, not washing hands as often or as thoroughly, and putting hands and other objects near mouth – supervise your child’s hand washing, make sure they are doing it frequently.
  • Carry hand sanitizer to use on your children’s hands when soap and water aren’t available.
  • Ensure your child is up to date on immunizations and vaccines as per the CDC schedule.
  • Try to wipe down surfaces your children will be touching whenever possible such as airplane tray or tabletops in hotel rooms with cleaner or hand sanitizer.
  • Make sure children rinse off before and after swimming pools, they can be full of viruses and bacteria such as giardia and conjunctivitis.
  • teach your child to avoid touching certain highly contaminated surfaces such as those in a public washroom, get them to use paper towels when touching the taps or door handles.
  • Bring your own cuddle materials such as a favorite stuffed animal, small pillow or blanket to avoid using previously used airplane bedding.


Thanks for visiting DocChat, if you have any questions feel free to sign up and start a video consultation with one of our qualified physicians. Keep an eye out for Part 2 later today and travel safely!