Listeria: Symptoms and Treatment
Germs are all around us. On the ground, on our cell phones, in the air we breathe – sometimes, germs can even sneak their way into our food. Some germs that are spread through food are harmless, while others can cause symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Others, like Listeria, can even be deadly.
Listeria is a bacterium that causes listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating contaminated food. Listeriosis primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of listeriosis are often different depending on the infected person.
In pregnant women, listeriosis typically causes fever and other symptoms such as fatigue or aches. Listeriosis in pregnant women can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
In older adults, listeriosis can cause septicemia and meningitis. In everyone else, listeriosis symptoms can include:
- Stiff neck
- Loss of balance
- Convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches
- Diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms
Options for Treatment
Treatment for Listeria infection varies depending on the person infected and the severity of the symptoms. Most people with mild symptoms do not require any medical treatment, but those with more serious infections are typically treated with antibiotics. Pregnant women need prompt antibiotic treatment to help prevent the infection from affecting the baby.
Even with prompt treatment, listeriosis can result in death. That is why it is important to recognize the symptoms, and if you are experiencing symptoms within 2 months of eating food thought or known to be contaminated, seek medical attention immediately.
FastMed Urgent Care is open 365 days a year to address your immediate health concerns. If you are concerned that you may have Listeriosis, don’t hesitate to visit a clinic near you. Listeriosis is typically diagnosed by a blood test, which we can perform at any FastMed location, and our on-site labs enable us to have the results to you fast.