Food Poisoning

Signs And Symptoms

Symptoms of food poisoning usually develop Within one hour to two days after eating the affected food and vary depending on what substance caused the poisoning. General symptoms Include:

  • Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Fever


One in every 10 Americans develops a case of food poisoning each year. Not all cases of food poisoning are the same. In some cases, people develop symptoms within an hour of consuming the infected food; in others, symptoms do not manifest themselves until two days after the food is eaten. Duration of symptoms also vary-some bouts last for only 12 hours (in mild cases), while others may remain for five days or more.

Food poisoning is caused by one of more than 10 types of food-borne bacteria, or specific toxins created by the bacteria. Each type of bacteria inhabits a specific type of food-raw or under cooked seafood, egg products, undercooked meat or poultry, dairy products, raw vegetables, or contaminated water. Because such a wide range of bacteria can cause food poisoning, it is often difficult to determine exactly which bacteria contaminated your food.

Conventional Medical Treatment

People who are otherwise healthy, between the ages of 12 and 65, and not pregnant can treat food poisoning with home care. To give your distressed digestive system a rest, do not eat any solid food until your symptoms dissipate. To counteract the loss of fluids caused by diarrhea and vomiting, drink lots of water and electrolyteich sports drinks, such as Gatorade. Since continual vomiting usually causes weakness, relaxing indoors-preferably in bed-is wise.

If your symptoms do not go away within 48 hours or you notice blood in your stool or vomit, see a doctor immediately. Anyone who is over the age of 65 or under the age of 12, is pregnant, or
has a compromised immune system should see a doctor at the first signs of food poisoning. A stool
culture can help the doctor determine if food poisoning is cause of your illness. If food poisoning is the diagnosis, a stool sample also can reveal which type of bacteria caused the illness. If the case of food poisoning is severe, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or recommend intravenous fluid replacement to rehydrate the body.

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