Categories: Conditions

What are the symptoms of food poisoning?


Discover the symptoms of food poisoning.

Have you eaten a “questionable” food and are wondering how long after food poisoning can occur? how to treat it or which foods to favor during convalescence? FoodsDesk gives you all the information you need to improve prevention and cure!

How to tell the difference between gastro and food poisoning?

It is easy to confuse gastro and food poisoning since both have more or less the same symptoms.


To differentiate them, it is necessary to look at the temporality: that of the appearance of the disorders, as well as their duration.

Case of food poisoning

If, after a meal, at least two people present almost simultaneously symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea, then food poisoning is strongly suspected.

The duration of food poisoning is quite short: it varies from just a few hours to a maximum of two to three days.

Case of gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis will have more scattered symptoms over time. If they appear more than 24 hours after the “suspicious” meal, then it is very likely that it is gastroenteritis.


The side effects of gastroenteritis are also more persistent than food poisoning. Finally, the presence of fever should tip the scales more towards gastro rather than towards food poisoning.

How do you know if you have food poisoning?

Symptoms of food poisoning

They seemed “shady” to you, these mussels, are you paying the price for your audacity and fear of having food poisoning? Find out below what the symptoms of food poisoning are:

• frequent diarrhea;

• nausea, vomiting;


• diffuse abdominal pain (cramps);

• possible fever;

• possible presence of blood.

If your symptoms do not go away, call a teleconsultation generalist!


Good to know: Acute gastroenteritis and collective food poisoning are among the gastroenteritic syndromes.

When does food poisoning occur?

The incubation time for food poisoning is usually very short. It usually appears between one hour and a few hours after ingestion of the offending food.

What to do in case of food poisoning?

Most of the time, no drug treatment is required to cure food poisoning. Symptoms should go away on their own within a few hours at best, and no longer than 2-3 days.


To begin with, we recommend that you stay at home so as not to pass on your infection, as it can be contagious.

Soften the symptoms

If there is no specific remedy for food poisoning, its inconvenience can however be reduced.

Taking a painkiller – taking care of its dosage and following the advice of your doctor – will relieve any headaches or abdominal and jugular fever should you. In case of medical swallowing, you can also use an anti-diarrhea or an anti-emetic.

Nutrition and hydration in case of food poisoning

It is important to drink in case of food poisoning. The vomiting and diarrhea cause dehydration it is necessary to compensate. Drink “clear” liquids (water, broth, tea, for example) in frequent small sips.


As soon as it seems possible to swallow something solid again, we recommend that you do so, as your digestive system needs to get back to working order to heal faster. You will thus favor light and fractional intakes, which you will gradually increase.

What food to eat after food poisoning?

Depending on your tolerance and preferences, here’s what we recommend you eat – in small amounts to start – after food poisoning:

• lean meat ;

• cooked fish;


• White rice ;

• soup;

• rusk;

• compote;


• banana;


• potato ;

• pasta.

Over time, if you feel better, you can vary your diet and increase the portions. Add vegetables, cooked at first, then all the rest, always gradually.


Foods and drinks to avoid after food poisoning

Before having regained color, however, you are not recommended to consume, in particular:

• sweet foods or drinks (chocolate, confectionery, fruit juice, etc.);

• spicy or fatty foods;

• caffeinated drinks (coffee, certain sodas, etc.);


• alcohol.

Keep in mind that the more processed and complex a dish is, the more energy it will take to digest. So cook your food as simple as possible for the moment.

Food poisoning: when should you consult?

If you experience diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly fever persistently, consulting a doctor is recommended.

For food poisoning, we estimate that the duration of more than 24 hours for vomiting and 5 days for episodes of diarrhea, each time without noticeable improvement observed, fully justifies consultation.


The imperative and urgent reasons for consultation:

  1. Intense abdominal pain;
  2. Difficult breathing or swallowing;

  3. Confusion and bloody stools.

Vulnerable populations: the right reflexes to adopt


If you are a pregnant woman, an elderly person, or suffering from a chronic disease, be extra vigilant to avoid food poisoning; the same is true for children under 2 years old.

In case you think you have the symptoms, beware of possible risks and complications by consulting your GP.

How to avoid food poisoning?

It is certainly difficult to ensure the hygiene of a restaurant or a street vendor, but at your level, know that you can take some precautions:

• Observe the food preservation and storage instructions;


• Do not break the cold chain: never refreeze food and pay attention to transport conditions;

• Properly clean fruits, vegetables, herbs, utensils, and countertops;

• Cook foods that require it sufficiently: poultry and pork, for example, should be cooked through.

Understanding the causes of food poisoning

Food that makes you sick – we are not talking about food allergies here – has often been contaminated, at some point, by “bad” bacteria.


Food poisoning can be linked, in particular, to the consumption of oysters, shrimps, mussels, fish, red or white meats, unpasteurized dairy products, eggs, or even unsuitable water.

Badly washed, insufficiently cooked, preserved, or have been in contact with a sick person, the causes of contamination of food are multiple.

Additional precautions to avoid food poisoning

FoodsDesk gives you additional precautionary advice to avoid any risk of food poisoning:

• Do not take food out of the refrigerator too far in advance, especially in summer: bacteria grow faster with heat;


• Wash your hands carefully before cooking, after using the toilet, etc. ;

• Preferably use a different cutting board for seafood, meats, and vegetables;

• Get rid of bulging cans, as this is a bad sign for the safety of the food they contain.

Is food poisoning always of bacterial origin?

We have limited this article to food poisoning of bacterial origin, including in particular the famous listeria, salmonella, and E. coli.


However, food poisoning can originate from a virus, parasite, bacterial toxins, fungi, or various chemicals


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