How Long Does Food Poisoning Last? How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?

How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?


Food poisoning occurs when you wait for it to pass after it has occurred, waiting for your body to rid itself of the harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses that cause it. Symptoms of food poisoning often disappear within a few days, but they sometimes last for a few weeks. This article aims to give you a basic understanding of food poisoning and its incubation period so you will know what to expect if you get it.

Additionally, I will advise when to see a doctor in the event of a future bout of food poisoning.


Food Poisoning: How Long Does It Last?

It may take as little as a few hours or as long as a few days for food poisoning symptoms to appear. Depending on the microorganism that infected you, food poisoning can last a long. Symptoms may not appear for hours or days after ingesting contaminated food or beverage.


These are some common causes of food poisoning and their time frames.


  • Staphylococcus Aureus (Staph): The symptoms usually appear 30 minutes to 8 hours after exposure and last a maximum of one day.

  • Salmonella: Exposure begins 6 hours to 6 days after exposure, with symptoms lasting 5 to 7 days.

  • Norovirus: The symptoms generally appear between 12 and 48 hours after exposure and last for one to two days.

  • Coli: The symptoms appear three to four days after exposure and last five to ten days.

  • Listeria: The disease begins to show symptoms two weeks after exposure and lasts 1-3 days.


Food Poisoning Incubation Time

After eating contaminated food, symptoms can appear in a few hours to a few weeks.



After exposure, symptoms usually appear between 8 and 48 hours later.

Bacterial foodborne illnesses usually recover within 24 hours to 7 days. The most common bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses are E. coli (Escherichia coli), Listeria, Clostridium perfringens, and Salmonella.


It usually takes two to six weeks for parasitic food poisoning symptoms, such as giardia, to appear. It usually takes 1-2 weeks after exposure for symptoms to appear.

Parasitic food poisoning can last longer for people whose immune systems are functioning properly, who are older, and who have preexisting conditions.


It depends on the type of virus you have contracted and determines how long it will take you to recover from viral food poisoning.

A norovirus infection usually lasts between one and three days. Viral infections, such as hepatitis A, can last up to six months, but people usually only experience symptoms for a few weeks.

How to Prevent Food Poisoning

Food safety is the best way to prevent food poisoning when travelling abroad, eating out, and cooking at home.


  • Wash Your Hands: Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap. Additionally, wash your hands after cooking different types of food.

  • Disinfect Your Utensils And Kitchen Surfaces: After preparing different dishes, disinfect your utensils and kitchen surfaces.

  • Separate Produce From Meat: Doing so on the cutting board and when preparing food can prevent cross-contamination.

  • Ensure Food Is Cooked Thoroughly.  Thoroughly cooking food kills bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. Use a thermometer to track the internal temperature of raw meat.

  • Refrigerate Leftovers Within Two Hours: This can prevent spoilage.

  • Thaw Food In The Refrigerator: Thaw your food in the refrigerator rather than on the counter or sink. Once you defrost it, cook it right away.

  • If You Need More Clarification About Food, Throw It Away: Throw away food if unsure how it was prepared or stored. You should not eat anything that smells or looks okay.

  • Check Expiration Dates: Ensure food isn't expired to avoid foodborne illnesses.



Almost 250 types of foodborne illnesses can be caused by eating contaminated food, including food poisoning. Viruses, bacteria, parasites, and toxins are the most common causes of food poisoning. There are different types of food poisoning, which can cause different symptoms.


However, food poisoning can cause the following symptoms:


  • Nausea

  • Stomach cramps and abdominal pain

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea (sometimes bloody diarrhoea)

  • Fever

  • Upset stomach



If you are exposed to certain germs, you can get food poisoning.


It is essential to know that some bacteria are more common than others, including staphylococcus aureus (staph infections), vibrio, clostridium perfringens, salmonella, norovirus, botulism, listeria, and E. coli.


Various foods and food sources may contain these contaminants, but some of the most common ones are:


  • Fresh fruits and leafy greens that have not been washed

  • Contaminated water

  • Nuts

  • An individual who is sick handles food in an unsafe manner

  • Spices

  • Eggs

  • Shellfish

  • Raw and undercooked meats

  • The consumption of raw or contaminated foods may lead to cross-contamination.

  • Unpasteurised (raw) milk and dairy products

  • Improperly stored or canned foods

  • Poultry



Food poisoning can usually be recovered without formal treatment if the immune system is otherwise healthy. However, specific treatments can help to depend on the severity of the symptoms and the type of illness. It is essential to drink plenty of fluids as one of the first steps in treating food poisoning symptoms. If necessary, replenish the body with oral rehydration solutions and electrolyte solutions.


There may be a need to administer IV fluids in severe cases. Lightheadedness, dry mouth, and dark-coloured urine with a strong odour are signs of dehydration. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have food poisoning or certain symptoms. For example, receiving IV treatment in a hospital may be necessary for food poisoning caused by listeria. If nausea and vomiting occur, over-the-counter medications can relieve these symptoms. A bland diet, such as bananas, rice, apples, and toast, is best when recovering from food poisoning. It can also calm nausea and stomach pain with ginger and ginger ale.

Consume not spicy, caffeine-free, or alcohol-free foods, as they can all disrupt the stomach and cause gastrointestinal problems.


When To See A Doctor?

The symptoms can become severe and even life-threatening in rare cases.


Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience any of these severe symptoms:


  • Diarrhoea lasting more than three days or bloody diarrhoea

  • High fever 

  • Frequent vomiting, causing dehydration

  • Inability to keep liquids down


Pregnant women, people with preexisting health conditions, and immunocompromised individuals are at risk of complications from food poisoning. Miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature deliveries are possible consequences of food poisoning in pregnant women in severe cases. A pregnant woman who suspects food poisoning should seek medical attention immediately.


The effects of severe food poisoning can be severe, even resulting in hospitalisation, brain damage, nerve damage, kidney damage, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)-related kidney failure, and arthritis.


Frequently Asked Questions


When Is Food Poisoning Different From Stomach Flu?

A stomach bug and food poisoning can present similar symptoms, but they are usually spread differently and present with different severity and duration of symptoms. This viral infection, called viral gastroenteritis, is often confused with a stomach virus. Various symptoms are associated with this illness, including diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and fever.

Food poisoning is also possibly caused by a virus, but it is usually caused by contaminated food and is not spread from person to person. In contrast to stomach viruses, which take 24 to 48 hours to incubate, food poisoning often has more severe symptoms and begins sooner. Stomach flu can last 1-3 days (although sometimes longer), while food poisoning usually resolves on its own in 1-2 days. To treat your illness correctly, you need to understand what is causing your symptoms.

What Types Of Food Poisoning Are There?

Viruses, bacteria, parasites, and toxins can contaminate food and cause food poisoning. Campylobacter, clostridium perfringens, E. coli, listeria, norovirus, and salmonella commonly cause food poisoning.


Is Food Poisoning Contagious?

Food poisoning can be contracted if infected with certain bacteria, viruses, or parasites. When you have food poisoning and care for a child or elderly person, you shouldn't prepare their food. Make sure your home is clean and disinfected using soap in the bathrooms. As long as symptoms persist, staying home from work or school is best.


How Can Mobi Doctor Help

The symptoms of food poisoning usually go away on their own. It's essential to consult a healthcare provider if you have concerns about foodborne illness or if the illness will resolve on its own.

 With Mobi Doctor, you have access to online urgent care.


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