Food poisoning is a serious and often unexpected illness that affects your digestive tract, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). It’s a common disease, with 48 million Americans getting a “foodborne illness” each year, according to the CDC.
It’s contracted from “viruses, bacteria, and parasites” that are present in food and drink, the NIDDK says. These harmful foreign contaminants can be caused by improperly preparing or cooking food. According to the NIDDK, most foreign pathogens must be eliminated by cooking.
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How long does food poisoning last?
The effects of food poisoning occur within hours, the NIDDK says, after the contaminated substances are digested, and usually don’t go unnoticed. In rare cases, it can take days for food poisoning symptoms to become apparent, so don’t always expect an immediate response if you’re concerned that you’ve eaten contaminated food.
The NIDDK says the duration of food poisoning can vary, for some just a day or less and others up to a week.
What are food poisoning symptoms?
Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach problems, such as cramps and vomiting, fever, nausea, or diarrhea.
Dangerous food poisoning conditions include more than three days of severe symptoms, such as diarrhea, a high fever of 102, dehydration, or a detrimental effect on vision or speech, according to the CDC.
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What to do if you have food poisoning?
The best remedy for food poisoning is rest. Usually, food poisoning will make its way out of your system, and after bad days and nights, your body will recover on its own.
Hydration is also vital, the CDC says. Consistent water intake can help keep your body fighting off the germs in peak form. Some people have recommended Gatorade for its electrolyte supply, but the CDC does not. The CDC also suggests that you should see your health care provider when severe symptoms develop.
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What diseases resemble food poisoning?
The stomach flu and food poisoning are constantly compared, and while there are significant similarities, the timing sets them apart. According to the CDC, the stomach flu has symptoms that appear between 12 hours to two days after contracting the illness, while food poisoning is generally almost immediate and symptomatic within hours of acquiring it.
The CDC says the COVID-19 omicron variant also has similar symptoms, including vomiting, fever, and nausea. However, Omicron can stay in your body for up to two weeks until symptoms even appear and require a full quarantine to ensure the coronavirus doesn’t continue to spread.
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