How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?

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Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with pathogens which are infectious toxins, chemicals, viruses, bacteria or parasites. Food poisoning is still awfully common despite major safety and advantages in food production. Food contamination can happen during processing, storage, and transportation. It can also occur during preparation or cooking. There is always a concern about how long does food poisoning last. The poisoning period depends on how far the person is infected.

There are symptom’s what notifies about food poisoning. The typical signs are the followings:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps

However, sometimes these symptoms can get worse and it includes:

  • High fevers
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Blurry vision
  • Bloating
  • Seizures
  • Renal problems
  • Liver problems
  • Blood in the stool
  • Death
  • Continuation of diarrhea more than 3days
  • Tingling, burning or numb sensations in the extremities

Food poisoning can be very dangerous if reaches in extreme level. The CDC study found that, in the United States (U.S.), out of the 9 million yearly cases of food poisoning, roughly 56,000 needed hospitalization and 1,350 led to death.

Duration of food poisoning

Talking about how long does food poisoning lasts, the common duration is 24 to 48 hours. The symptoms resolve on own and no medical treatment is specified. However, if the sickness persists longer and shows symptoms like fever, dehydration or more, than medical care should be required and the illness totally depends on the infection. Duration can be extended if the person awfully gets infected by these follows:

  • Norovirus

Norovirus is a contagious virus. It is found in water and food which is contaminated with feces. It can spread through any contact making with infected surfaces and individuals. In a CDC study, norovirus is to blame for 58% of foodborne illness in the United States. Most of the cases where norovirus occurs by infected individuals for having raw foods. It doesn’t have a cure but can be treated by taking rest, being hydrated and having mineral supplements and vitamins.

Ordinary norovirus symptoms cause:

  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • usually constant and severe diarrhea
  • exhaustion
  • body pain
  • fever and chills
  • abdominal cramping

Talking about extreme cases, norovirus causes severe dehydration and it can lead to death due to lack of treatment. The signs include:

  • extreme fatigue
  • feeling weak or faint or having dizziness
  • dry mouth and throat
  • sensitive or painful dry eyes
  • muscle pain and weakness
  • decreased urination
  • usual fussiness reduced tears and sleepiness in kids

Norovirus infections begin within 12-48 hours of exposure and generally end after a few days. If anything looks abnormal, it’s best to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent the condition lasts longer.

Clostridium perfringens

Clostridium is a kind of bacteria which infects the insides of animals and humans. If a large amount of bacteria is consumed than illness have to arise. It can’t be spread by the infected person with any contact but it spreads through poultry products, raw meals or pre-cooked foods which have been kept temperate for serving. This infection can occur between 6-24 hours after exposure but generally take place within 8-12 hours. There are symptoms can often begin suddenly and stop in less than 24 hours.

Nontyphoidal Salmonella

Salmonella species cause almost 94 million cases and end with around 115,000 deaths every year. It is the leading cause of bacterial diarrhea worldwide. It spreads through contacts with food and water that contaminated with fecal matter and also through animals or infected individuals. These sufferings include diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. The symptoms can start within 6-7 hours of exposure. Most of the infection gets better within 4-7 days.

Campylobacter species

The leading global cause of inflammation of the stomach or small intestines and bacterial gastroenteritis is campylobacter species. They are originating from the intestines of warm-blooded animals like poultry and cattle. These are spread through any consumption of poultry products or meat or making direct contact with infected animals.

These common signs hold the length of illness:

(4.1) nausea
(4.2) diarrhea
(4.3) vomiting
(4.4) headache
(4.5) fatigue
(4.6) dehydration
(4.7) abnormal pain or cramping

These infections can occur 1 to 10 days after exposure. Most infections are mild and improve on their own within 3 to 6 days. But people with weakened immune system may need medical care.

Listeria monocytogenes

Listeria monocytogenes are often known to serious that requires hospitalization. It most commonly affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults and those who have poor immune system. The poisoning duration depends on the invasive infection that shows symptom as follows:

(5.1) loss of balance
(5.2) fever
(5.3) confusion
(5.4) muscle pain and aches
(5.5) flu-like symptoms
These signs shows within 1-4 hours of consuming contaminated foods and it requires immediate medical attend if infected during pregnancy.


Parasites may transmit by undercooked fish or meat which has been contaminated with feces. In CDC report due to U.S. says the most common foodborne parasites are as follows:
(6.1) roundworms like Trichinella species
(6.2) protozoa such as Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium
(6.3) tapeworms such as Diphyllobothrium
These parasites are found in raw vegetables, undercooked meat and fish that have been contaminated with feces. The symptoms depend on the parasite. Many causes skin lesions, cough or nerve problems, while some cause gastrointestinal symptoms. So the sickness also depends on the type of parasites.

Escherichia coli (E.coli)

E. coli is a type of bacteria that naturally lives in the intestines of most healthy humans. Although most types of E. coli are harmless but some of them cause infections. These bacteria transmit through fecal matter in water or food. It can also spread through direct contact with infected individuals. The symptoms include:
(7.1) bloody diarrhea
(7.2) usual diarrhea
(7.3) low grade fever
(7.4) urinary tract infection
(7.5) abdominal cramping
(7.6) respiratory infection
(7.7) dehydration
For these symptoms, recommended treatment is only rest and hydration. However, if anyone has severe dehydration and bloody diarrhea than hospitalization or immediate medical treatment is must for them. Most of the symptoms appear within 3-4 days of food poisoning after infection. The infected person recovers after 5-7 days.
When you have awareness of how long does food poisoning last you can justify whether you need treatment or not. Avoid contacts with others if you have symptoms of food poisoning or suspect any exposure to illnesses. Anyone must need to see a doctor or have medical care if the food poisoning lasts longer than 2-3 days.

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