Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) each year gets sick and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Food poisoning occurs when a person ingests contaminated food or drinks. The effects can be from mild to deadly, so it’s important to know what typical symptoms are to determine when you need medical treatment.

What Causes Food Poisoning?

Symptoms of Food PoisoningBacteria, such as salmonella and e.Coli, and viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A, are the most common causes of food poisoning. Other causes include parasites, natural or chemical toxins, allergens, and other pathogens. Food poisoning symptoms can start within hours of eating contaminated food and typically include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Fever

Most cases of food poisoning can be treated at home and will run its course in 24 to 48 hours. However, you should seek medical attention if you notice:

  • Signs of dehydration (decreased or no urination, dry mouth, increased thirst, dizziness, and weakness)
  • Blood in the stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting or diarrhea longer than 72 hours

Preventing Food Poisoning

While you might not be able to control food poisoning while eating out, you can take steps at home to prevent food poisoning. Wash all fruits and vegetables before preparing. Clean your prep area and hands often. Make sure to not cross-contaminate surfaces (keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from produce prep area). Always make sure you use a food thermometer to check the correct temperature for safe consumption. Finally, chill foods properly to prevent growth that can start in as little as two hours with room temperature food.


If you are experiencing the symptoms of food poisoning and feel you should seek medical care, come to your local FastMed Urgent Care clinic. With extended hours and open every day of the year, including weekends and holidays, FastMed will help you recover from food poisoning and have you feeling better in no time. FastMed offers prompt medical treatment for non-life-threatening medical conditions 365 days a year. Use our ZipPass online check-in system to shorten your wait time.

The content presented on this page is not intended to diagnose health problems or take the place of professional medical care.