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How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?

How Long Does Food Poisoning Last

Food Poisoning Duration

Food poisoning occurs when you consume food contaminated with an infectious agent such as bacteria, parasites, toxins or viruses.  The duration of your symptoms will depend on the type of food poisoning. Most cases last around 1-2 days. However, in some cases symptoms may last a week or more.

Regardless of the time frame, it is important to take care of yourself this critical period to help your body recover.

If symptoms are severe, last more than three days, or you are experiencing bloody diarrhea, seek medical attention. It’s also crucial if you develop signs of dehydration or exhibit any neurological issues, such as blurred vision. Pregnant women, the elderly, young children and those with compromised immune systems should always see a doctor if they develop food poisoning symptoms.

Food Poisoning Symptoms

What does food poisoning feel like? Food poisoning usually starts within a few hours after you’ve eaten the suspect food, but it is possible for symptoms to begin days later. When the latter occurs, it’s harder to nail down what may have caused your illness. Food poisoning symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

    Besides gastrointestinal symptoms, fever may also accompany food poisoning.

    People often experience mild signs of food poisoning without realizing the cause. They may attribute their gastrointestinal symptoms to picking up “a bug” which is actually true as most cases of food poisoning are caused by viruses.

    What to Do for Food Poisoning?

    Stay Hydrated

     Before trying any home remedies for food poisoning you need to rehydrate. If you can keep fluids down, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and replacing the liquids lost from vomiting or diarrhea. An electrolyte solution supports minerals lost from throwing up or diarrhea.

    Adopt the BRAT Diet

    What to eat after food poisoning? Allow your body to rest so you can regain strength. Stick to a BRAT diet consisting of Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and/or Toast initially. Avoid any fatty or spicy foods, along with caffeine and dairy products until you feel you have recovered completely.

    Drink Ginger Tea

    Ginger tea may aid in remedying nausea and vomiting.

    Consume Probiotics

    A probiotic supplement can help get your intestinal tract back on track. Food poisoning disrupts your gut’s microbiome, or good bacteria. Probiotics can support your digestive tract and restore beneficial bacteria.

    Is Food Poisoning Contagious? 

    Food poisoning that is caused by certain bacteria, viruses, or parasites is contagious. So, if you or your child has symptoms of food poisoning, take steps to protect yourself and to prevent the spread of the illness.

    How to Prevent from Getting Food Poisoning 

    While outbreaks of food poisoning may occur in restaurants, people are often affected by food prepared and consumed at home. Taking a few simple precautions can lessen the odds of accidentally contaminating meals you make at home.

    Be Diligent with Food Hygiene

    Number one is keeping everything as clean as possible. That means washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap prior to and after handling food. Use hot water and soap to clean utensils and any areas in which food is prepared.

    Don’t leave perishable food standing at room temperature for more than an hour or so. Either refrigerate them or, if they haven’t been cooked, but them in the freezer. Defrost food in the refrigerator rather than leaving it on the counter or in the sink. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables prior to cooking or eating.

    The old saying, “When in doubt, throw it out,” still holds true. If you suspect food isn’t safe because it was left at room temperature for a long period or may have otherwise become contaminated, don’t risk food poisoning. Just throw it in the trash.

    Ensure that Food is Cooked

    Make sure foods are cooked to the correct temperature. That should eradicate harmful organisms. For best results, use a food thermometer so you know your food’s exact temperature. Don’t just rely on a food’s color and texture while cooking, even if you have made the dish dozens of times.

    Organize Your Food

    Keep certain types of foods separate, so they don’t cross contaminate. That includes:

    • Raw meat
    • Seafood
    • Poultry
    • Eggs

    Drink from Sealed Containers during Traveling

    If you’re traveling in a country where sanitation leaves something to be desired, do not drink the local water or use ice in your drinks. Drink bottled water and other beverages in sealed containers.

    Treatment for Food Poisoning

    Patients with diarrhea may find that over-the-counter remedies such as bismuth eases symptoms but call your doctor if the diarrhea is bloody. The doctor may also prescribe medication to stop vomiting.

    The doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you exhibit severe food poisoning symptoms and the cause is bacterial. However, many cases of food poisoning are caused by viruses, and antibiotics do not work on viral infections. The most common pathogens responsible for food poisoning include salmonella, norovirus and campylobacter.

    Those with symptoms of dehydration may require intravenous fluid therapy.

    If you are taking antibiotics at any time, we recommend taking probiotics with your antibiotics.

    Food Poisoning Symptoms