Food Poisoning: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Food poisoning is a non-medical term that refers to an illness caused by eating contaminated food. The food may be contaminated by an infectious agent (like bacteria or a virus), toxin, or chemical.

The main signs and symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and cramping. Other associated symptoms can include fatigue, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, indigestion, headache, bloating and weakness. Signs and symptoms of dehydration are common due to the fluid loss through vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, fever and chills may develop. Most cases of food poisoning go away on their own within a few days.

Causes of food poisoning

Some of the most common causes of food poisoning in the U.S. include norovirus and the bacteria Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, and Salmonella.

Other food poisoning symptoms and signs


Pancreatitis is inflammation of an organ in the abdomen called the pancreas. See Answer

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.