What are the symptoms of food poisoning in a 2-year-old?
When children or adults vomit shortly after eating something, food poisoning is often thought to be the culprit at first. The most common type of food poisoning is associated with protein-rich foods such as ham, chicken, dairy products, egg salad, and potato salad. Caused by a toxin produced by a staph germ, illness begins an average of four hours after eating. Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and sometimes fever and headache are usually over in 24 hours. Other people who ate the same food should be affected as well. Unfortunately, sometimes several members of a family come down with stomach flu symptoms all at the same time. Figuring out whether food is the cause can be difficult.
Most stomach upsets are caused by viral infections such as rotavirus rather than food poisoning. However, diarrhea that lasts more than a couple of days, bloody stool, persistent abdominal pain, and persistent fever are signs that something else may be responsible, such as salmonella, yersinia, or a host of other nasty bugs. The problem is that the very young and the very old are most susceptible to serious illness from these germs.
If there is a chance of food poisoning, especially if it occurred at a group gathering or a restaurant, contact your local health department. If your 2-year-old doesn't feel better the next day or symptoms other than brief vomiting and diarrhea appear, see your pediatrician.