Food poisoning occurs when you eat contaminated food. Food poisoning most often is a result of eating improperly cooked meats and spoiled dairy products. Food poisoning can resemble the flu, so next time you’re feeling sick, run a quick mental inventory of everything you’ve eaten the past few days to narrow down the cause of your illness.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a common food poisoning culprit. Other bad bacteria that can cause food poisoning are salmonella, listeria, staphylococcus aureus and Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni). The most dangerous is Clostridium botulinum, which is able to live in an oxygen-free environment and is often found in improperly canned foods.
Nausea and vomiting, fevers and chills, diarrhea, weakness and fatigue, headaches and abdominal cramps are all symptoms of food poisoning.
Stick to a liquid diet until the diarrhea lets up. Drink lots of fluids, such as water and drinks containing electrolytes. Avoid dairy products and soda. After the diarrhea passes, slowly reintroduce your body to solid foods. Start with crackers and toast and work your way up.
Most food poisoning symptoms pass within 12 to 28 hours. Some varieties last for up to 10 days.
Children and the elderly are especially at risk for food poisoning. They also have a higher risk of developing complications as a result of the illness.