It is hard to tell the difference between food poisoning and an intestinal virus because the symptoms are the same; nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, chills, headache, and body aches.
Usually, food poisoning symptoms appear within 2 to 48 hours after eating food that contains bad bacteria. On average, the condition will last one or two days but can last for a week in a severe case. The only way to tell if it’s truly food poisoning is to test the blood, stool, and the suspected food. Most often this is not necessary as the treatment for food poisoning is the same as the treatment for a stomach virus. The exception to this is if there is blood in the stool. In that case, a doctor will want to run tests to check for food poisoning that is caused by the more dangerous bacteria such as E. coli 0157:H7 or salmonella.
There are a few things to watch for when your toddler has food poisoning. If any of the following signs are present, call the doctor right away:
• a fever that is higher than 39.4 degrees Celsius
If you suspect that your child has food poisoning, you should at least contact your GP’s office to let them know what is going on. They will be able to tell you if you should bring your child in for a visit.
• persistent vomiting
• severe headaches or abdominal pain
• blood in the stool or vomit
• a swollen belly that is hard