Food poisoning is very stressful to the body and is often quite a debilitating illness. Foodborne illnesses come as a result of eating contaminated, toxic, or spoiled food. The condition is quite common as it affects millions of people – or 1 in 6 persons – in the United States every year. The symptoms of food poisoning can range from mild to severe, but most commonly include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The duration of a foodborne illness can range from a few hours up to a few days.
Symptoms of food poisoning aren’t easy to miss, although they can vary a bit depending on what the infection stemmed from. Depending on the source, it can take from as little as an hour for symptoms to occur, all the way up to almost an entire month (28 days). If you have a common case of food poisoning, you likely suffer from at least three of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of appetite
Certain cases of food poisoning are more severe than others and could even be potentially life-threatening without treatment. If you are experiencing any of these more severe symptoms you should seek medical attention immediately:
- Diarrhea and vomiting lasting for more than three days
- A fever that is higher than 101.5 degrees (Fahrenheit)
- Severe dehydration symptoms: noticeable decrease in urination, dry mouth, difficulty keeping fluids down
- Difficulty seeing
- Difficulty speaking
- Blood in urine
How long does food poisoning last?
Most cases of food poisoning only last for 1 to 2 days, however sometimes you will only experience symptoms for a few hours. Symptoms will typically resolve on their own after a couple of days, however, if you are experiencing symptoms for longer than 3 days then you should go to see your doctor in Arlington.
Certain infections, such as Cyclospora infections, can cause one to exhibit diarrhea symptoms for a few weeks. In that case you would need to see your doctor to assist in recovery and to ensure you do not become severely dehydrated, etc. This type of infection is one of the more common reasons that certain symptoms persist for extended periods of time.
What causes food poisoning?
The cause of food poisoning is linked to exposure to either certain bacteria, parasites, or viruses. Bacteria is the most common cause of food poisoning, parasites are less common, but they can be very dangerous, especially to those who suffer from weak immune systems. Viruses are another common cause of food poisoning and are responsible for over 19 million cases each year.
How do I know if it's food poisoning or a stomach virus?
Food poisoning can cause symptoms similar to a stomach virus, which is why the two conditions can be difficult to tell apart. The biggest difference is that food poisoning symptoms hit much faster than those of a stomach virus. While stomach virus symptoms can take days to develop, food poisoning symptoms can appear within hours of eating a contaminated meal. A stomach virus is also more likely to cause a fever, headache, stomach pain, and vomiting than food poisoning. While stomach viruses take longer to develop, they usually only lasts 24 to 48 hours, while food poisoning will last longer.
How is food poisoning treated?
Food poisoning often can be treated from home and will usually go away on its own in a matter of 1 to 3 days. Visiting an urgent care in Arlington will likely be your best option as you will be able to get in the quickest that way.
The most important thing to do if you have food poisoning is to stay hydrated as you will lose a lot of needed hydration along with the symptoms of the condition. Buying water that has added electrolytes is your best option. You should avoid any drinks that have caffeine as they can increase dehydration and irritate your stomach.
If your condition doesn’t better in 3 days or longer or if you are experiencing any of the more severe symptoms that are listed, then you should come see us here at Urgentology. Walk-ins are of course always welcome, but our center also accepts appointments for your convenience. Call us or come by today.
Important: If you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Room. Information in this site is not intended to be used as a diagnosis for your symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention or visit Urgentology Care.