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  • James Tippett MD

Your Upset Stomach May Very Well Be Food Poisoning

How often do we go out to eat, and very soon after feeling absolutely sick to the stomach and need to go to the bathroom, like NOW! Well, it might not be simply be a bug you have, but food poisoning instead. The most common types of food poisoning are the result of E. coli, Salmonella, Norovirus, Campylobacter, and Listeria.


E. coli are several strains of bacteria present in the intestines of animals and humans. It’s found in beef, especially undercooked or raw hamburger meat; produce; raw milk; and unpasteurized juices and ciders. It’s nice to think we are eating natural, but remember, there’s a reason we pasteurize products and cook well. The symptoms are severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often, but not always bloody), and vomiting. As you’ve read in the news, if not treated quickly, can even lead to hospitalization and in severe cases, death.


Salmonella is a bacteria occurring in the intestines of animals. It can be found in raw and undercooked eggs, undercooked poultry and meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, and unpasteurized dairy products. I had a patient, not to long ago, who ate at a chain chicken restaurant where the chicken was undercooked. He presented with the classic symptoms of salmonella, which are diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.


Norovirus is a virus passed via food, water, an infected person, or touching contaminated surfaces. Think cruise ship sickness. It’s found in any food contaminated by someone who is infected with this virus, and presents with diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain.


Campylobacter is a bacterium carried by animals and is found in raw and undercooked poultry and other meats, raw milk, and untreated water. The symptoms are diarrhea (often bloody), fever and abdominal cramps.


Listeria is a bacterium that primarily infects pregnant women, babies, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems, including those with diabetes, long-term steroid treatment, and other immune compromised systems. This can be found in unpasteurized dairy products, including soft cheeses; sliced deli meats; smoked fish; hot dogs; pate’; and deli-prepared salads, such as egg, ham seafood, and chicken salads. The symptoms are fever and diarrhea.


I hope this informs you of some of the various gastrointestinal afflictions that are commonly affecting us, and that you begin to notice a pattern here. Not only are the symptoms similar and therefore hard to clinically diagnose, but also how they are caught. It’s important that we strive to avoid raw or partially cooked foods and liquids. And it’s important that we wash our hands before and after we eat, and clean surfaces with a disinfectant to avoid cross contamination of foods and their by-products.


Dr Tippett is the founder of Comprehensive Quality Healthcare Providers located at 1210 Commerce Dr. Suite 106, Greensboro, Ga 30642. He can be reached at 706-510-3659. Visit his web site at www.drtippett.com

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