Food Poisoning and Dehydration
The CDC estimates 1 in 6 Americans suffer from food poisoning each year. This common illness – which is often accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, fever or excessive sweating – is caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. The symptoms of food poisoning, which commonly occur a few hours after ingesting contaminated foods, often increase a patient’s risk for dehydration. Travelers are particularly prone to food poisoning, especially when visiting developing countries. In fact, traveler’s diarrhea affects roughly 15-50 percent of U.S. citizens who visit certain areas in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Why Food Poisoning and Traveler’s Diarrhea Cause Dehydration
Dehydration occurs when the body’s water and electrolytes stores are depleted. During an episode of food poisoning, the body loses fluids and electrolytes rapidly due to diarrhea or vomiting. Depending on the length of the episode, it’s often difficult to replenish these nutrients normally. Additionally, the fever and excessive sweating associated with food poisoning contribute to this dramatic loss of fluids and electrolytes. Seniors, people with chronic diseases and young children are all at the highest risk for developing dehydration caused by food poisoning symptoms.