How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?

How Long Does Food Poisoning Last
Reading Time: 5 minutes

How long does food poisoning last: When you consume food or water contaminated with bacteria, parasites, viruses, or the poisons these organisms produce, you risk developing food poisoning. Common bacteria like Staphylococcus or E coli are to blame most of the time.

Your food may contain bacteria in a variety of ways. When prepared, meat or poultry may come into touch with intestinal germs. Water used for growing or transportation could contain waste from people or animals.

The time it takes for symptoms to manifest depends on the infection’s origin, although it might take anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 weeks. Most instances will be resolved in a week, with or without treatment.

What Causes Food Poisoning?

You never learn the precise cause of food poisoning in 4 out of 5 instances. That’s okay because you will probably improve on your own. However, when the offender is identified, it is typically one of the following:

More than half of food-borne infections in the United States with a known cause are caused by norovirus, sometimes known as stomach flu.

Norovirus can make you ill by contacting infected people or eating contaminated food and touching doorknobs and other surfaces. You should clean the kitchen if you have someone in your home with it.

A group of bacteria by the name of Salmonella. They thrive on raw eggs and meat. However, unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized cheese can also transmit salmonella. Some fruits and vegetables, such as melons or sprouts, can also bring it on.

Clostridium perfringens are more likely to appear when food is cooked in large quantities, such as at cafeterias, nursing homes, or for catered events. You typically feel better in a few days after becoming ill between 6 to 24 hours.

Undercooked poultry, unpasteurized milk, and occasionally water are the sources of campylobacter. It could take 2 to 5 days for symptoms to become apparent. You ought to feel better in another 2–10 days, though.


Symptoms of Food Poisoning 

The following are typical signs of food poisoning:

  • Diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Fever
  • Headache

The duration of the symptoms, which can range from a few hours to many days, is mild to severe. Possible signs include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Paralysis
  • Tingling or numbness of your skin
  • Weakness

A person should see a doctor or visit the emergency department as soon as they have neurological symptoms.

How to Test and Examine Food Poisoning

Medical specialists use several food poisoning tests to identify the exact causes of food poisoning, whether they are bacterial or viral. These tests comprise, among others:

Doctors may want a stool sample to determine whether the patient has eaten contaminated food. If symptoms are extremely severe, blood tests may be used to rule out other causes, including bacterial infections.

Blood tests can also be used to assist doctors in deciding whether a patient needs to be treated for dehydration.

A toxoplasmosis test may be necessary for people at high risk. Consult the high-risk populations section of to learn more about this test.

A physical examination can be used to find food poisoning signs that may require individual treatment, such as dehydration brought on by frequent vomiting. Physical tests can diagnose weakness and may assist in determining the particular sickness kind.

It is always recommended to visit a nearby medical facility to receive a diagnosis of a food-borne illness so that appropriate care can be given. It is best to seek professional advice even though most food poisoning diseases can be treated with rest and a steady supply of fluids.

How to Treat Food Poisoning 

The severity of your symptoms and the source of the sickness will determine how you should be treated for food poisoning. Drug treatment is typically not required.

The following may be part of the treatment:

1. Replenishment of fluids: Electrolytes and fluids keep the fluid balance in your body in check. Minerals like calcium, potassium, and sodium are examples of electrolytes. It’s crucial to replenish lost fluids after vomiting or diarrhea to avoid becoming dehydrated.

2. Antibiotics: You might be given an antibiotic if bacteria cause your disease. They typically prescribe antibiotics to patients with serious illnesses or at a higher risk of complications.

3. Antiparasitics: Antiparasitics, or medications specifically targeting parasites, are frequently used for parasitic infections.

4. Probiotics: Your doctor might advise probiotics. With these procedures, the digestive system’s beneficial microorganisms are replaced.

Preventing Food Poisoning

Safe food handling procedures are the best approach to avoid contracting a food-borne illness. Those who harvest, handle, and prepare food must exercise caution at every stage to prevent contamination. For instance:

1. Clean: Wash fresh produce thoroughly in hygienic water. Before using your hands and utensils to cook meals, wash them. Cutting boards, countertops, and plates are all surfaces that will come into contact with your food; wash and sanitize them all.

2. Separate: You can prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw meats and eggs apart from fresh produce or other food products. Meat products may include germs rendered harmless when cooked at the proper temperatures.

3. Cook: Properly cook meats and seafood at the appropriate temperatures to eradicate bacteria. Whole slices of beef can have pink inside if the exterior has adequately been seared.

Within two hours of cooking, place prepared items in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent the growth of bacteria. When serving things that involve gravy, sauces, mayonnaise, or creams, be sure they have been kept at the proper temperatures.


What Illnesses are Similar to Food Poisoning?

Because both disorders overlap many symptoms, it’s challenging to tell food poisoning from stomach flu.

The primary negative impact of both is diarrhea. This can occasionally even be bloody and runny. According to Dr. Ford, “Bloody diarrhea often occurs when there is a very rapid onset of diarrhea.”

It upsets the digestive system and results in a small amount of bleeding. Other typical symptoms include nausea and vomiting; some people may also have fever and chills.

The significant variations between the two are when your symptoms appear after exposure and how long they last.

Bottom line

Maintaining proper hygiene in the kitchen and washing your hands to prevent food poisoning is a good idea.

Most food poisoning episodes are mild and go away on their own. It’s recommended to rest, remain hydrated, and consult a doctor if symptoms don’t go away in a few days if they persist.

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