Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Food poisoning is often diagnosed based on a detailed history, including how long you've been sick, characteristics of your symptoms and specific foods you've eaten. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam, looking for signs of dehydration.

Depending on your symptoms and health history, your doctor may conduct diagnostic tests, such as a blood test, stool culture or examination for parasites, to identify the cause and confirm the diagnosis. For a stool culture, your doctor will ask for a stool sample and send it to a laboratory, where a technician will try to grow and identify the infectious organism. In some cases, the cause of the food poisoning cannot be identified.

Jun. 16, 2011