What Is Food Poisoning?

What is Food Poisoning? : Types, Symptoms and Treatment

by Daniel Abbott — 3 years ago in Health 5 min. read

What is Food Poisoning?

Foodborne illness but it is commonly known as Food Poisoning, is the result of eating contaminated, spoiled, or toxic food. Basically common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although it’s quite uncomfortable, food poisoning isn’t unusual. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Food poisoning symptoms

If you have food poisoning, chances are it won’t go undetected. Symptoms can vary depending on the source of the infection. The duration of time that it takes for symptoms to arise also is based upon the origin of the disease, but it can vary from as few as one hour as long as 28 days.

Typical cases of food poisoning may normally contain at least three of the following symptoms:

  • abdominal cramps
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • mild fever
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • headaches

Symptoms of potentially life-threatening food poisoning include:

  • diarrhea persisting for more than three days
  • a fever higher than 101.5°F
  • difficulty seeing or speaking
  • symptoms of severe dehydration, which may include dry mouth, passing little to no urine, and difficulty keeping fluids down
  • bloody urine

If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to contact your physician immediately.

What causes food poisoning?


Normally food poisoning can be traced to one of the following three major causes:


Bacteria is by far the most prevalent cause of food poisoning. When thinking of dangerous bacteria, names such as E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella come to head for good reason. Salmonella is undoubtedly the biggest offender of critical food poisoning cases from the USA.

As stated by the CDC Trusted Source, an estimated 1,000,000 instances of food poisoning, for example almost 20,000 hospitalizations, could be tracked to salmonella disease annually. Campylobacter and C. botulinum (botulism)are just two lesser-known and possibly deadly germs that could lurk in our meals.


Food poisoning caused by parasites is not as common as food poisoning caused by bacteria, but parasites propagate through food continue to be quite dangerous. Toxoplasma is your parasite found most frequently in cases of food poisoning. It is typically found in kitty litter boxes.

Parasites can reside in your digestive tract unnoticed for several years. But, people with diminished immune systems and pregnant girls risk serious unwanted effects if parasites take up home within their own intestines.


Food poisoning can also be caused by a virus. The norovirus also called the Norwalk virus, which causes over 19 million cases Trusted Source of food poisoning annually. In rare situations, it may be deadly. Sapovirus, rotavirus, and astrovirus cause similar symptoms, but they are less common. Hepatitis A virus is an acute illness which may be transmitted via food.

How does food become contaminated?

Pathogens can be found on almost all of the food that humans eat.

But, heat from cooking generally kills germs on food until it reaches our plate. Foods consumed raw are typical sources of food poisoning since they do not undergo the cooking procedure.

Sometimes, food will come in contact with all the organisms in fecal matter. This most often happens when a individual preparing food does not wash their hands prior to cooking.

Meat, eggs, and dairy goods are often contaminated. Water may also be infected with organisms that cause sickness.

Who is at risk for food poisoning?

Everyone can develop food poisoning. Statistically speaking, almost everyone will develop food poisoning at least once in their own lives.

There are a few populations that are more in danger than others. Anyone having a suppressed immune system or an celiac disease might have a greater chance of disease and a greater chance of complications caused by food poisoning.

As stated by the Mayo Clinic, pregnant girls tend to be at risk because their bodies are now dealing with changes for their circulatory and metabolic system through pregnancy.

Elderly people also face a greater chance of contracting food poisoning since their immune systems might not react fast to infectious organisms. Kids are also believed an at-risk population due to their immune systems are not as developed as those of adults.

How is food poisoning diagnosed?

Your doctor may be able to diagnose the type of food poisoning based on your symptoms.

In severe cases, blood tests, stool evaluations, and evaluations on food you have consumed might be conducted to ascertain what is in charge of the food poisoning. Your physician can also use a urine test to assess whether a person is dehydrated because of food poisoning.
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How is food poisoning treated?

Food poisoning can usually be treated at home, and most cases will resolve within three to five days.

When you have food poisoning, it is critical to stay properly hydrated. Sports beverages full of electrolytes may be useful with this. Fruit juice and coconut oil may restore carbohydrates and aid with tiredness.

Keep away from caffeine, which might irritate the digestive tract. Read more treatments to get an upset stomach.

Non-prescription medications such as Imodium and Pepto-Bismol will help control diarrhea and curb nausea. But you must check with your physician before using these drugs since the body utilizes vomiting and nausea to rid the machine of this toxin. Additionally, using these drugs can mask the harshness of the disease and enable you to delay looking for expert therapy.

Additionally, it is crucial for anyone who have food poisoning to find loads of rest.

In acute cases of food poisoning, most people may need hydration with intravenous (IV) fluids in a hospital. At the worst cases of food poisoning, a more hospitalization may be required while the person recovers.


What’s good to eat when you have food poisoning?

It’s better to slowly hold off solid foods before vomiting and diarrhea have passed and rather facilitate back to a normal diet by consuming simple-to-digest foods that are dull and low in fat, for example:

  • saltine crackers
  • gelatin
  • bananas
  • rice
  • oatmeal
  • chicken broth
  • bland potatoes
  • boiled vegetables
  • toast
  • soda without caffeine (ginger ale, root beer)
  • diluted fruit juices
  • sport drinks

What’s bad to eat when you have food poisoning?

To stop your stomach from getting more upset, try to avoid the following harder-to-digest foods, even if you think you feel better:

  • dairy products, especially milk and cheeses
  • fatty foods
  • highly seasoned foods
  • food with high sugar content
  • spicy foods
  • fried foods

You should also avoid:

  • caffeine (soda, energy drinks, coffee)
  • alcohol
  • nicotine

Point of view

While having food poisoning is quite uncomfortable, the good news is that most people recover completely within 48 hours. Learn more about what to eat after food poisoning.

Food poisoning can be life-threatening, however the CDC says this is extremely rare.
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How can food poisoning be prevented?

The best solution to prevent food poisoning is to handle your food safely and to avoid any food that may be unsafe.

Some foods are more likely to cause food poisoning due to the way they’re created and ready. Meat, eggs, poultry, and shellfish can harbor infectious agents which are killed during cooking. If these foods are consumed in their raw form, not cooked correctly, or if surfaces and hands aren’t cleaned following touch, food poisoning may happen.

Other foods that are likely to cause food poisoning include:

  • sushi and other fish products that are served raw or undercooked
  • deli meats and hot dogs that are not heated or cooked
  • ground beef, which may contain meat from several animals
  • unpasteurized milk, cheese, and juice
  • raw, unwashed fruits and vegetables

Every time wash your hands before cooking or eating food. Make sure that your food is properly sealed and stored. Thoroughly cook meat and eggs. Anything that comes in contact with raw products should be sanitized before using it to prepare other foods. Make sure to always wash fruits and vegetables before sharing or serving.

Daniel Abbott

Daniel Abbott is editor in chief & research analyst at The Next Tech. He is deeply interested in the moral ramifications of new technologies and believes in leveraging the data scientist, research and content enhancement to help build a better world for everyone.

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