Food Poisoning: Symptoms & Signs

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

SLIDESHOW

Super Tips to Boost Digestive Health: Bloating, Constipation, and More See Slideshow

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019
References
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.