Symptoms of Food poisoning


General information about symptoms of Food poisoning: The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible symptoms of Food poisoning. This symptom information has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of symptoms of Food poisoning. Furthermore, symptoms of Food poisoning may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of symptoms and whether they are indeed symptoms of Food poisoning.

List of symptoms of Food poisoning: The list of symptoms mentioned in various sources for Food poisoning includes:

Symptoms of Food poisoning: In most cases of foodborne illness, symptoms resemble intestinal flu and may last a few hours or even several days. Symptoms can range from mild to serious and include

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Fever

  • Dehydration


After they are swallowed, there is a delay, called the incubation period, before the symptoms of illness begin.  This delay may range from hours to days, depending on the organism, and on how many of them were swallowed.  During the incubation period, the microbes pass through the stomach into the intestine, attach to the cells lining the intestinal walls, and begin to multiply there.  Some types of microbes stay in the intestine, some produce a toxin that is absorbed into the bloodstream, and some can directly invade the deeper body tissues.  The symptoms produced depend greatly on the type of microbe. Numerous organisms cause similar symptoms, especially diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea.  There is so much overlap that it is rarely possible to say which microbe is likely to be causing a given illness unless laboratory tests are done to identify the microbe, or unless the illness is part of a recognized outbreak.2

Symptoms vary widely depending on etiologic agent. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most common. 3

More symptoms of Food poisoning: In addition to the above information, to get a full picture of the possible symptoms of this condition and its related conditions, it may be necessary to examine symptoms that may be caused by complications of Food poisoning, underlying causes of Food poisoning, associated conditions for Food poisoning, risk factors for Food poisoning, or other related conditions.

Medical articles on symptoms: These general reference articles may be of interest:

1. excerpt from Bacteria and Foodborne Illness: NIDDK
2. excerpt from Foodborne Infections General: DBMD
3. excerpt from Foodborne Infections: DBMD

Last revision: May 27, 2003

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