Medications and Increased Food Poisoning

A much maligned class of medications that may increase food poisoning risk include those used to reduce heartburn and/or acid stomach. These medications sold under various trade names or generic names include such common drugs as omeprazole (Prilosec), famodipine (Pepcid) and ranitidine (Zantac). While it may be intuitive that reducing the body’s first line of acid defense against bacteria would cause an increase in risk, there are limited studies to prove the point.

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Allergic Reactions to Food Can Kill

In my practice of Emergency Medicine I have seen hundreds of patients with food allergies.

The FDA states:

  • approximately 2 % of adults and about 5 percent of infants and young children in the United States suffer from food allergies
  • each year, roughly 30,000 individuals require emergency room treatment and 150 individuals die because of allergic reactions to food

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Our Children are at Great Risk of Food Poisoning

It is challenging enough to take care of a sick adult, but when children get sick, dehydrated, need intravenous fluids and look like near death, it is heart wrenching.

As an ER physician, I have taken care of many sick kids. Most of my colleagues would agree that comforting the crying child and sometimes the crying parents, attempting to draw blood or start an IV is really emotionally draining.

Unfortunately, according to a 2011 CDC report, children aged younger than 5 years continue to have the highest rate of food borne infections. Nationally every year there was 1 infection per ~ 1500 children.

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Food Borne Illness in Pregnancy

There are two main pathogens that create food borne illness in pregnancy: Listeria and Toxoplasma.

Perhaps it is because I am a grandfather of two or because there is yet one more on the way, but for whatever reason, I am more attuned to the risk of food borne illness in pregnancy than ever before.

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