How long does food poisoning last?

Food poisoning comes from food that has an infectious bacteria or virus that is then ingested by a person. It can also come from food that has not been correctly handled, such as at the wrong temperature before or after cooking. While there is no specific treatment for food poisoning, AFC Urgent Care Saugus has information to help prevent you from getting sick from any food. Visit us for any non-life-threatening urgent care need

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning symptoms are less than desirable, but they can vary from person to person in their severity. Most cases of food poisoning will experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pains
  • Fever

Most people will experience these symptoms anywhere from a few hours to a few days after consumption. The most significant complication to be mindful of is dehydration. It’s important to try and constantly hydrate and get plenty of rest. If you experience any of these symptoms for longer than three days or experience symptoms of severe dehydration, you should seek medical attention. 

Causes of Food Poisoning

Food can become contaminated by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Bacteria is the most prevalent cause, with Salmonella being the number one bacteria. Most of the time, these contaminants are killed off by the heat from cooking the food properly. Consuming raw food is a popular way to get food poisoning, but it is still possible to get it from cooked food. Meat, eggs, dairy, and sometimes water can become contaminated with bacteria or a virus and then get you sick. 

Most cases of food poisoning will resolve themselves at home within three to five days of symptoms. They typically do not require any medical attention, but there are OTC medications that may help relieve symptoms. It’s important to remain hydrated throughout the duration of the illness and after symptoms subside to eliminate the risk of dehydration. Avoid anything that may irritate the digestive tract, such as caffeine or fried foods. 

Prevention During the Holidays

The best way to prevent yourself from getting food poisoning is by washing your hands frequently while cooking and disinfecting all surfaces as much as possible. Do not allow food to become cross-contaminated with one another by using separate cutting boards and utensils—Cook all meat, poultry, and seafood to their proper internal temperatures. Once finished cooking, be sure to put all leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours, or within one hour if it is hot where the food is being kept.