How long does food poisoning last?

Food poisoning usually lasts for a few days. Most patients suffer food poisoning for up to three days. Food poisoning is a medical condition that causes patients to develop symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Food poisoning frequently happened as a result of consuming contaminated food. The food that potentially causes food poisoning is contaminated by germs like bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Norovirus is the main virus that causes food poisoning. On the other hand, Salmonella and E. coli are two top bacteria that are responsible for causing food poisoning. Recover from food poisoning is very much possible and fast. You just need to come early to get medical evaluation and treatment from any nearby health care facilities.

Signs and symptoms can start on the day of consuming the contaminated food or in most cases, a few days after ingesting contaminated food. The clinical features of food poisoning are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision

 What you can do at home if you start feeling unwell and experienced the above symptoms all of sudden are:

  • Drink a lot of clean plain water
  • Have enough rest
  • Take small meals with minimal fat content

 Please get medical attention if you experiencing the following:

  • You experienced six or more episodes of diarrhoea in a day
  • You vomit blood
  • Blood in your stool
  • Fever of more than 38.5-degree celsius that do not resolve after 24 hours
  • You suffer severe or unbearable abdominal pain
  • You are 70 years old or older
  • You lose too much water or experience dehydration.

Young children and adults who experience symptoms of food poisoning should always get medical attention. This is because they are more likely to develop dehydration. The features of dehydration are:

  • Many episodes of watery diarrhoea
  • Lethargy or feeling tired
  • Thirsty
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry tongue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • No urination for more than five hours
  • Very yellow urine

Food poisoning usually does not require you to undergo any special tests. The diagnosis of food poisoning is usually made upon the analysis of signs and symptoms. However, you might still need to go for blood tests and sometimes tests to analyze your faces. Most adults who suffer from food poisoning may not need any treatment. This is because food poisoning is usually self-limiting and recovering on its own without any specific treatment. However, some patients may require intravenous fluid administration with or without antibiotics.

Antibiotics are only given to cases of bacterial infections. Anti-diarrhoea is not given as it will slow down the process to eliminate the infective organism from your gut. In some isolated cases, anti-diarrheal like loperamide is given. Food poisoning is a preventable disease. You can prevent and minimize the risk of suffering from food poisoning by:

  • Not consuming unpasteurized milk
  • Wash fruits and vegetables properly before consuming them
  • Keep your refrigerator colder than 4-degree celsius
  • Keep your freezer below -18 degree celsius
  • Cook seafood and meat till well done
  • Cook eggs till the yolk is firm
  • Practice a good hand hygiene
  • Wash cooking utensils properly and store them correctly

Please remember that pregnant ladies can also suffer from food poisoning. Practice the above preventive measures to protect the child in the womb. The main thing to do is always check the expiry dates of any food products, vitamins, or supplements you are consuming while pregnant. Recover from food poisoning while pregnant is very much possible. Always get legit medical advice from a registered and certified medical doctor.