Food poisoning symptoms vary with the source of contamination. Most types of food poisoning cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
- Watery diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and cramps
Signs and symptoms may start within hours after eating the contaminated food, or they may begin days or even weeks later. Sickness caused by food poisoning generally lasts from a few hours to several days.
When to see a doctor
If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, seek medical attention.
July 24, 2014
- Frequent episodes of vomiting and inability to keep liquids down
- Bloody vomit or stools
- Diarrhea for more than three days
- Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping
- An oral temperature higher than 101.5 F (38.6 C)
- Signs or symptoms of dehydration — excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- Neurological symptoms such as blurry vision, muscle weakness and tingling in the arms
- Foodborne illness, foodborne disease, (sometimes called "food poisoning"). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/facts.html. Accessed April 16, 2014.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Diagnosis and management of foodborne illnesses: A primer for physicians and other health care professionals. MMWR. 2004;53:1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5304a1.htm. Accessed April 16, 2014.
- Acheson DWK. Patient information: Food-poisoning (foodborne illness). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 17, 2014.
- Foodborne illness. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/bacteria/index.aspx. Accessed April 16, 2014.
- The big thaw — Safe defrosting methods for consumers. Food Safety and Inspection Service. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/the-big-thaw-safe-defrosting-methods-for-consumers/CT_Index. Accessed April 17, 2014.
- Wanke CA. Approach to the adult with acute diarrhea in developed countries. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 17, 2014.