Food Poisoning
Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning: 5 Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Complication, and When To See A Doctor

Food poisoning is a condition characterized by the appearance of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea after consuming contaminated food. Such contamination can be caused by germs or toxins entering the food.

Symptoms of food poisoning can be seen after a few minutes, hours, or days after consuming contaminated food. The speed depends on the type of food and the cause.

Generally, food poisoning is not a serious condition and can heal on its own. However, the condition can sometimes also be dangerous and requires special treatment by a doctor.

Food Poisoning Symptoms

Symptoms that arise from food poisoning vary depending on the substance contaminating the food consumed. Common symptoms include

  • Diarrhea,
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Stomach cramps, and
  • Headaches.

Signs and symptoms can arise some time after eating contaminated food, or even a few days even weeks after. These symptoms can generally last only a few hours until settling down for several days.

Learn more about Food Poison Symptoms and First Aid

Food Poisoning Causes

Food poisoning occurs because contaminant organisms get into the food. Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Clostridium Botulinum, and Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) are organisms that often cause food poisoning.


Salmonella, a bacterium derived from raw or half-cooked eggs, can also be found in meat, poultry and uncooked vegetables that have been contaminated before. It takes 6-72 hours for this bacteria to cause complaints.

Learn more about Salmonella Poisoning: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

E. Coli

E. Coli, this bacterium is usually found in raw minced meat or unpasteurized dairy products. It takes 3-8 days for this bacterium to cause bloody diarrhea accompanied by stomach cramps and vomiting.


Campylobacter, this bacterium is found in meat and dairy products that were not cooked properly and previously contaminated water. It takes 2-5 days for these bacteria to cause complaints of diarrhea accompanied by nausea, vomiting and headaches.


Listeria, found in refrigeration ready meals such as sausages, and dairy products such as cheese or yogurt. This bacterium has a long incubation period of 3-21 days to be able to cause complaints. Complaints caused by this bacteria in the form of fever, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, to the neck stiff and daze.

Clostridium botulinum

Clostridium botulinum, commonly found in expired canned foods or those with low acidity levels. Within 12-36 hours toxins from this bacteria can cause neurological complaints in the sufferer in the form of fatigue, lethargy, vertigo, blurred vision, to difficulty swallowing and talking.

Read also:
Food Poisoning Vs Stomach Flu: Definition, Ways To Distinguish, and How To Handle It + Video

Food Poisoning Diagnosis

People with food poisoning generally come with complaints of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, to fever. To establish a diagnosis of food poisoning, it is then necessary to dig up in-depth medical information.

From the excavation of information will be obtained a history of consuming food and drinks that are not clean, not cooked perfectly, not stored properly, expired, or contain harmful ingredients. In certain cases, it is also necessary to support laboratory examinations such as blood culture and stool analysis.

Food poisoning complication

Food poisoning that is not handled appropriately and can immediately cause the sufferer to be dehydrated. Even this can be life-threatening to the person.

In pregnant women, certain bacterial poisonings can lead to miscarriage, babies born prematurely, or die at birth. Babies born normally can also be at risk of developmental disruption due to this food poisoning.

When should You see a doctor?

You should contact a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms of severe food poisoning below.

  • Vomiting
  • Bloody vomiting or bloody feces
  • Diarrhea for more than three days
  • Extreme abdominal pain or severe abdominal cramps
  • Oral temperature conditions higher than 38.6ยบ Celsius
  • Excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness,
  • Blurred vision, muscle weakness and tingling in the arms.

These symptoms indicate dehydration that can be fatal if  left untreated. Generally dehydration due to food poisoning is easier to experience by children or the elderly.

Last Updated on March 5, 2022 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team