Symptoms And Causes Of Food Poisoning

Symptoms And Causes Of Food Poisoning

Mai Delacruz

Mai Delacruz
Personal Fitness Trainer & Health Coach

Updated on 11/29/2022

Food poisoning, often known as foodborne sickness, is an ailment that is brought on by consuming food that has been contaminated. Most cases of food poisoning are brought on by infectious organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, or the toxins produced by these organisms.

At any phase in the processing or preparation of food, the product might be contaminated with infectious organisms poisons. Food can also become infected in the house if it is mismanaged or prepared improperly.

Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common symptoms of food poisoning, which can begin manifesting themselves as soon as a few hours after consuming infected food. Most cases of food poisoning are minor and clear up on their own without needing treatment. However, certain people have to go to the hospital.

The Goods And The Services

food poisoning


The symptoms of food poisoning change depending on the origin of the infection. The following list of signs and symptoms are caused by the majority of different forms of food poisoning:

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea that is either watery or bloody.
  4. Aching and experience cramping in the abdomen
  5. Fever

It's possible that the signs and symptoms won't appear until hours, days, or even weeks after consuming the infected food, but they definitely won't be there before then. In most cases, the symptoms of sickness brought on by food poisoning can persist anywhere from a few hours to several days.

When Should One Go To The Doctor?

food poisoning

Seek medical care immediately if you suffer any of the signs or symptoms listed below.

  1. Regular bouts of nausea and vomiting, as well as difficulty in keeping drinks down
  2. Bloody vomit or stools
  3. Diarrhea that has lasted longer than three days
  4. Intolerable agony or severe cramping in the abdomen region
  5. Oral temperatures that are higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 C)

Signs or symptoms of dehydration include:

  1. Intense weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
  2. Extreme thirst.
  3. A dry mouth.
  4. Little or no urine.
  5. Little or no water intake.
  6. Neurological symptoms such as impaired eyesight, weakened muscles, and a tingling sensation in the arms and legs


food poisoning

Food can get contaminated at any production stage, including planting, harvesting, processing, storage, transporting, or even preparation. Most of the time, the root of the problem is cross-contamination, which refers to the movement of pathogenic organisms from one surface to another. It is especially problematic for raw meals already prepared for consumption, such as salads and various types of fruit. Because these meals are not cooked, potentially dangerous organisms are not killed before they are consumed, resulting in food poisoning.

Food poisoning can be caused by various bacterial, viral, or parasite agents. The following table provides:

  1. Information on some potential pollutants.
  2. The likely onset of symptoms.
  3. The typical transmission routes for the organism.
ContaminationSymptoms begin to appearTransmission mechanisms and affected foods
Campylobacter2 to 5 daysMeat and poultry are included. If animal feces touch meat surfaces while it is being processed, then contamination will occur. Milk that has not been pasteurized and water that has not been purified are two more sources.
Clostridium botulinum12 to 72 hoursTinned foods made at home with low acidity, commercial foods that have been inadequately canned, smoked or salted salmon, potatoes cooked in aluminum foil, and other meals that have been stored at heated temperatures for an extended period.
Clostridium perfringens8 to 16 hoursMeats, stews and gravies. Commonly spread when serving dishes don't keep food hot enough or food is chilled too slowly.
Escherichia coli (E. coli)1 to 8 daysBeef that was tainted with excrement while it was being slaughtered. Primarily by the consumption of raw ground beef. Additional sources include milk and apple cider vinegar that has not been pasteurized, alfalfa sprouts, and water that has not been purified.
Giardia lamblia1 to 2 weeksProduce that is both raw and ready to eat, as well as polluted water. It can be transferred by an infected food handler.
Hepatitis A28 daysProduce and shellfish that are ready to eat have been grown in polluted water. An infected food handler can pass it on.
Listeria9 to 48 hoursFoods such as hot dogs, luncheon meats, unpasteurized milk and cheeses, and raw fruit that has not been washed pose a health risk. The disease can spread through polluted water and soil.
Noroviruses (Norwalk-like viruses)12 to 48 hoursProduce and shellfish that are ready to eat have been grown in polluted water. An infected food handler can pass it on.
Rotavirus1 to 3 daysRaw, ready-to-eat produce. Can be spread by an infected food handler.
Salmonella1 to 3 daysBeef, poultry, milk, or egg yolks are either raw or tainted. Withstands poor preparation in the kitchen. It is possible for the disease to be passed on by contaminated food handlers, blades, or cutting surfaces.
Shigella24 to 48 hoursSeafood and raw, ready-to-eat produce. Can be spread by an infected food handler.
Staphylococcus aureus1 to 6 hoursMeats and salads are prepared, sauces made with cream, and pastries loaded with cream. It can be passed from person to person by coughing, sneezing, and hand-to-hand contact.
Vibrio vulnificus1 to 7 daysOysters are served raw, and mussels, clams, and entire scallops are served raw or undercooked. The disease can spread through tainted ocean water.

Determinants Of Risk

food poisoning

The pathogen, the quantity of exposure, your age, and your health are all factors that determine whether or not consuming infected food will make you sick. These are some of the high-risk groups:

  1. Older adults. As you age, your immune system may not react as swiftly or effectively to infectious organisms as it did when you were younger because your immune system has had more time to develop.
  2. Pregnant ladies. Alterations in metabolism and circulation during pregnancy may increase the likelihood of contracting food poisoning. Your response may be much more acute now that you're pregnant. On occasion, your child could feel sick as well.
  3. Young infants and youngsters in their early years. Their immune systems have not matured to their full potential.
  4. Patients are suffering from chronic illnesses. Your immune response can be hampered if you have a condition that requires ongoing medical treatment, such as diabetes, liver disease, or AIDS; if you have cancer, receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy; or if you are undergoing treatment for cancer.


food poisoning

Dehydration, a significant loss of fluids, essential salts, and minerals, is the most common complication of food poisoning. If you are an adult who is healthy and drinks enough fluids to replenish the fluids that you lose from vomiting and diarrhea, you shouldn't have an issue with being dehydrated.

When people lose more fluids than they can replenish, they risk being severely dehydrated. Especially true for infants, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases. In that circumstances, patients could require hospitalization to get fluids through an intravenous line. In severe events, death might result from dehydration.

Specific individuals are more likely to experience significant problems from particular forms of food poisoning. These are the following:

food poisoning

Infection caused by Listeria An unborn child is at the most significant risk for developing severe complications from a listeria food infection. An infection with the bacteria listeria might cause a miscarriage if it occurs early in a pregnancy. Even if the mother felt a little under the weather, a listeria infection in the later stages of pregnancy might result in a stillbirth, preterm delivery, or an illness in the newborn that could become deadly. Those infants who are fortunate enough to survive a listeria infection may suffer from permanent brain impairment and a delay in their development.

Escherichia coli (E. coli). Some strains of E. coli can bring on a dangerous complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome. This illness causes damage to the lining of the microscopic blood arteries in the kidneys, which can occasionally lead to the failure of the kidneys. People of advanced age, children younger than 5, and those with compromised immune systems are at a greater risk of acquiring this consequence than younger children and adults. Visit your physician as soon as possible if you get watery or bloody diarrhea and fall into one of these risk groups.


food poisoning

To avoid getting sick from contaminated food at home:

  • Be sure to wash your hands, utensils, and any food-contact surfaces often. It is essential to thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling or preparing food. When cleaning utensils, cutting boards, and other surfaces, you should use hot and soapy water.
  • Keep foods ready to consume in a separate area from raw ones. When grocery shopping, cooking meals, or storing food, be sure that raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish are kept apart from the other items. Cross-contamination is avoided as a result of this.
  • Prepare meals to a temperature that ensures their safety. Utilizing a food thermometer is the most reliable method for determining whether or not food has been cooked to an appropriate level of protection. Proper cooking at the right temperature may eliminate dangerous organisms from most meals.
  • Cook ground beef to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71.1 degrees Celsius); steaks, roasts, and chops, such as lamb, hog, and veal, to a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62.8 C). To a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, cook the chicken and the turkey (73.9 C). Check to see that the fish and shellfish are cooked through.

food poisoning

  • Immediately after purchasing or preparing perishable items, please place them in the refrigerator or freezer and keep them there for no more than two hours. Should refrigerate Perishable goods within an hour if the room temperature is over 32.2 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Defrost food safely. Should not defrost food at room temperature, and food should be allowed to defrost in the refrigerator for the healthiest and most sanitary results. Start cooking frozen food immediately after you defrost in the microwave using the "defrost" or "50% power" option.
  • If you have any doubts about it, get rid of them. Throw away any food you have doubts about whether it was made, served, or kept safely. Food left out at room temperature for an extended period may be contaminated with germs or poisons that cannot be eliminated by cooking. It would help if you didn't bother tasting food you have doubts about; toss it. It's possible that you shouldn't consume it even though it seems normal and smells excellent.
  • Young children, pregnant women, their fetuses, elderly individuals, and those with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to the severe health consequences and even loss of life resulting from food poisoning. These persons should take further measures by avoiding items that fall into the following categories:

food poisoning

  • Meat and poultry are served raw or in a rarer state.
  • Consuming raw or undercooked fish or shellfish, such as oysters, clams, mussels, or scallops, can harm your health.
  • Eggs that have not been properly cooked or those that may include raw or undercooked eggs, such as cookie dough and handmade ice cream, might harm your health.
  • Sprouts consumed in their raw state include alfalfa, bean, clover, and radish sprouts.
  • Unpasteurized Juices And Ciders
  • Milk and milk products that have not been pasteurized
  • Blue-veined cheese, unpasteurized cheese, and soft cheeses like feta, Brie, and Camembert are examples of cheeses that have not been pasteurized.
  • Pates and meat spread that need to be refrigerated.
  • Hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats that have not been cooked.