How Long Does Food Poisoning Last? This article will go over the symptoms of food poisoning, how long they last, and different treatment options.
Food poisoning can affect anyone, infants, young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses are most vulnerable.
The majority of cases of poisoning are caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, chemicals, and metals that can also cause illness.
When you have poisoning, you frequently wait for it to pass as your body fights off the harmful bacteria, parasites, or viruses.
The good news is… Food poisoning is often self-resolving.
What are Common Food Poisoning Symptoms?
Food poisoning is a foodborne illness caused by consuming contaminated food. Bacterial, viral, parasitic, or toxin pathogens are the most common causes of poisoning.
The symptoms of poisoning vary depending on the contaminant, but most people experience a combination of nausea, stomach pain or cramping, vomiting, headache, and fever.
On a less frequent basis, patients may experience bloody diarrhea, dehydration, high fever, muscle aches, blurred vision, skin rash, or itching.
Cause Food Poisoning
A variety of germs can cause poisoning if you are exposed to them.
Germs that are commonly found include clostridium perfringens, staphylococcus aureus, vibrio, salmonella, norovirus, botulism, E. coli, and listeria.
These can be found in a wide range of foods and food sources, but some of the most common culprits are:
- Meats that are raw or undercooked.
- Poultry, shellfish, eggs, nuts, spices.
- Milk and dairy products that have not been pasteurized (raw).
- Fresh fruits and unwashed leafy greens.
- Food that has been improperly stored or canned.
- Water contamination.
- Food that has been handled in an unsafe manner by a sick person.
- Food that has been cross-contaminated with raw or contaminated foods.
The time it takes for symptoms to appear depends on the cause of the illness. For example, symptoms of Staphylococcus aureus infection appear within 30 minutes, whereas symptoms of Listeria illness can appear up to 4 weeks later.
The most common types of food poisoning cause symptoms within 30 minutes to 2 days of exposure.
How Long Does Food Poisoning Last In Adults?
Depending on the type of illness, poisoning symptoms can appear anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks after eating contaminated food.
Bacteria. The most common type of foodborne illness is bacterial poisoning. Symptoms typically appear 8-48 hours after exposure.
A bacterial foodborne illness can be recovered from in 24 hours to 7 days. E. coli bacteria, listeria bacteria, clostridium perfringens, and salmonella are some of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses.
Parasites. Symptoms of parasitic food poisoning, such as giardia, typically last between 2 and 6 weeks. Typically, symptoms appear 1-2 weeks after exposure.
The length of parasitic poisoning may be affected by an individual’s immune system, age, and preexisting conditions.
Viruses. The incubation period for viral food poisoning varies depending on the type of virus contracted.
Norovirus usually lasts 1-3 days. Another type of viral infection, hepatitis A, can last up to 6 months, but most people only experience symptoms for a few weeks.
What Are The Treatment For Food Poisoning?
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Those with otherwise healthy immune systems will usually recover from food poisoning without needing to seek medical attention.
However, depending on the severity of the symptoms and the type of illness, certain treatments may be beneficial.
Dehydration is one of the most common side effects of food poisoning symptoms, so drink plenty of fluids when treating poisoning.
2. Use Antibiotics
Antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor in certain cases of poisoning and for specific symptoms.
For example, listeria food poisoning may necessitate hospitalization.
If necessary, certain over-the-counter medications can be used to treat nausea and vomiting.
3. Get As Much Rest
Get as much rest as you can if you have a fever from the food poisoning. Consult a doctor or healthcare provider to see if taking fever-reducing medication is an option.
Before taking any medication containing salicylates or aspirin, consult your doctor.
4. Use a Heating Pad
To relieve stomach pain or cramps, use a heating pad or a hot water bottle. To avoid skin burns, keep the water bottle covered or the heating pad set to low.
5. Avoid Eating Anything and Stick to Drinking Water
Because nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common symptoms of poisoning, allowing the bowels to settle for a few hours may be beneficial.
For a few hours, avoid eating anything and only drink clear liquids such as water, broth, diluted juice, electrolyte drinks, or sports drinks.
Avoid carbonated beverages, as well as those containing caffeine or alcohol.
6. Eat Easy-To-Digest Food
Eating is safe as long as it does not worsen stomach cramps or diarrhea, but patients should stick to easy-to-digest foods like toast, crackers, bananas, rice, gelatin, or applesauce.
Avoid spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, all of which can cause stomach upset and gastrointestinal symptoms.