When do you need to go to the ER for food poisoning?

Viruses and bacteria commonly cause food poisoning , but these illnesses can also be caused by parasites or toxins produced by bacteria. In the U.S., more people go to the Emergency Room because of salmonella, E. coli, listeria, norovirus, Campylobacter and Clostridium perfringens than any other type of foodborne illness. The symptoms aren’t pleasant, but most people can recover well with supportive care at home. If you do need emergency care in Thousand Oaks, the doctors and nurses at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center can help you feel better quickly.

When you’re pregnant
Expecting mothers need to exercise a greater degree of caution when they become ill, as illnesses during pregnancy could harm the growing baby. Listeriosis, for example, can cause the following pregnancy-related complications:

  • Preterm labor/premature birth
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Low birthweight
  • Life-threatening infections of the newborn

Call your healthcare provider if you experience any possible symptoms of foodborne illness during pregnancy. If you develop severe symptoms or you can’t reach your doctor, go to the Emergency Room—just in case.

When you might be dehydrated
Food poisoning is known for causing gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea and vomiting. Both of these issues increase the risk of dehydration, which can become serious.

Try to sip water and rehydration beverages with electrolytes frequently while you’re ill. If you can’t keep fluids down or you develop signs of dehydration, it’s time to go to the Emergency Room. Dehydration can cause these symptoms:

  • Little to no urine output
  • Darkly colored urine
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid heartbeat

When your symptoms are severe
An ER physician should evaluate you if you experience severe food poisoning symptoms. These include the following:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Double vision
  • Problems moving some body parts
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Problems breathing
  • Bloody vomit
  • Bloody or black stool

When you ate shellfish or mushrooms
Food poisoning symptoms after consuming shellfish or mushrooms should always be considered a medical emergency. Contaminated fish and poisonous mushrooms can cause severe complications, including temporary paralysis and death.

Your health and safety are our highest priorities here at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center . When you arrive at our Emergency Room in Thousand Oaks, a triage nurse will quickly evaluate your food poisoning symptoms, and alert a physician if you need treatment right away. Call 911 for true medical emergencies, or call a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746 for general information.

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