Food poisoning

Definition of Food poisoning

Food poisoning occurs when you swallow food or water that contains bacteria, parasites, viruses, or toxins made by these germs. Most cases of food poisoning are from common bacteria such as Staphylococcus or

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Food poisoning can affect one person or a group of people who all ate the same contaminated food. It more commonly occurs after eating at picnics, school cafeterias, large social functions, or restaurants.

Symptoms

The symptoms from the most common types of food poisoning generally start within 2 – 6 hours of eating the food. That time may be longer (even a number of days) or shorter, depending on the cause of the food poisoning.

Signs and tests

Your health care provider will examine you for signs of food poisoning, such as tenderness in the abdomen and dehydration. Your provider will also ask about foods you have eaten recently.

Treatment

You will usually recover from the most common types of food poisoning within a couple of days. The goal is to make you feel better and avoid .

Expectations (prognosis)

Most people fully recover from the most common types of food poisoning within 12 – 48 hours. Serious complications can arise, however, from certain types of food poisoning.

Review

A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California (1/20/2010). – 12/10/2010

Food poisoning
Antibodies

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