ZocdocAnswersIs it possible to get mild food poisoning?

Question

Is it possible to get mild food poisoning?

My boyfriend had some shrimp at a restaurant and now he can?t stop going to the bathroom. He isn?t vomiting or anything so I don?t think he has food poisoning. Can you just get a mild case of food poisoning? Should he see a doctor? Hthis has been happening for a while.

Answer

It is entirely possible to get a mild case of food poisoning. Food poisoning can be caused either by contaminating organisms in the food growing inside the intestines and causing symptoms or by preformed toxins produced by contaminating organisms causing symptoms. Usually, when organisms set up shop in the intestine and grow, the symptoms take a bit longer to develop but are more severe, with fever and other general body complaints. On the other hand, when the food poisoning is just due to toxin, the symptoms tend to develop more rapidly but also to be limited to the GI tract (vomiting, diarrhea). Some toxins are more severe than others and are more likely to produce severe vomiting, whereas there are mild toxins which just might produce diarrhea. Based on all of these considerations, it sounds like your boyfriend probably has a mild form of toxin-induced food poisoning. Another feature of this kind of food poisoning is that it should resolve fairly quickly. Therefore, if your boyfriend is not feeling better in the next 24 hours or so, or if there are any severe symptoms like inability to keep down fluids or high fever, he should see a doctor right away.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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