Up to 87%
Discount on Rx
Over 1.8 Million
Food poisoning, also known as food borne illness, is a potentially serious condition caused by consuming contaminated food or beverages. It occurs when harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins are present in the consumed food, which can result in various symptoms and health complications. Food poisoning can affect anyone, and the severity of symptoms can vary widely depending on the specific contaminant and the individual’s health profile.
Food can become contaminated at various stages of its lifecycle, including production, processing, cooking, or storage. Common causes of contamination include improper handling of food that exposes it to pathogens or parasites, cooking or reheating at the wrong temperature, and cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods.
Food poisoning can be caused by various microorganisms, including:
Bacteria, such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Campylobacter
Viruses, such as rotavirus, norovirus, and hepatitis A
Parasites, such as Cyclospora, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia
Toxins produced by bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium botulinum
Each contaminant can lead to different symptoms and health effects. The duration of food poisoning also varies. In most cases, symptoms are mild and resolve within one or two days without the need for medical intervention. However, some cases are more serious and require medical attention. This is especially likely in vulnerable populations such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women, or those with weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of food poisoning range from very mild to severe, and can take many different forms, including:
Nausea and vomiting
Abdominal pain and cramps
Fatigue and weakness
*NOTE: We DO NOT prescribe antibiotics or anti-diarrhea prescriptions
It depends on the type of pathogen. For instance, norovirus generally takes 12 to 48 hours. E. coli can take 1 to 10 days, with the average being 3 to 4 days.
Drink plenty of fluids and allow your body to rest in order to boost your immune system while you recover from food poisoning. If you’re able to eat, consume light meals consisting of “bland” foods. These include foods such as white rice, potatoes, crackers, and low-fat dairy, and exclude greasy or spicy foods that cause stomach issues.
Another option is to follow the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast). In addition, ingesting probiotics may help to improve gut health.
Although most cases result in mild, temporary illness, some people experience a severe reaction to food borne germs and other pathogens. If your symptoms are very serious, or if they seem to be getting worse, consider getting medical help. Symptoms to watch out for include blood in vomit or stool, blurred vision, paralysis of a body part, dizziness, difficulty speaking, and high fever (over 101°F).
If you are in a high-risk category, such as a pregnant person or someone with a weakened immune system, it may be a good idea to seek medical attention to stay safe.
Various medical treatments are available. Your online doctor can help determine which course of action is best.
Various prescription medications such as antibiotics may be prescribed if bacterial infection is suspected. Note that antibiotics work only on bacteria—they cannot treat stomach viruses. In cases of excessive vomiting from severe food poisoning, antiemetic medications are prescribed. Fluid replacement can be prescribed if you are suffering from dehydration due to excessive loss of fluid. Fluid replacement can involve oral rehydration solutions (ORS) or, when necessary, IV fluid administration.
Yes, food poisoning can cause a fever. Fever is a common symptom of foodborne illnesses, as the body's immune response to harmful bacteria or pathogens often includes an elevated body temperature as a defense mechanism.
Food poisoning is generally not fatal for most people and results in mild to moderate symptoms that resolve on their own or with appropriate treatment. However, in severe cases or if left untreated, certain types of food poisoning can lead to complications that may be life-threatening, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems, the elderly, or very young children.
Food poisoning symptoms typically do not last a week. They usually appear within hours to a few days after consuming contaminated food or beverages and typically resolve within a day or a few days. However, in some cases, particularly if the cause of food poisoning is a more severe or longer-lasting bacteria or toxin, symptoms can persist for a week or longer, and medical attention may be necessary.
Yes, food poisoning can cause chills as it is often accompanied by fever, and the body's response to an infection or toxin can include shivering and chills to raise body temperature. Chills are a common symptom in some cases of food borne illnesses.
Yes, food poisoning can make you dizzy. Severe cases of food poisoning, especially those accompanied by dehydration and electrolyte imbalances due to vomiting and diarrhea, can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness.