IF you think something you ate might have upset your tummy, then you might just have food poisoning. But how do you know if it’s that or some kind of tummy bug?
Here’s everything you need to know about how quickly food poisoning can hit, and exactly how long it will stick around for.
You’ll normally see the first symptoms of food poisoning within one or two hoursCredit: Getty – Contributor
How long does food poisoning last?
Food poisoning can be a nasty illness, but the good news is most cases will pass without treatment.
It may take a few days for you to recover, and the NHS recommends resting up at home and drinking plenty of water.
When you do feel up to eating, it’s best to stick to bland foods like toast, crackers, bananas and rice until you recover.
Vulnerable people, i.e. those who are elderly or have another health condition, are advised to take rehydration solutions.
You should see your GP if your symptoms are so severe that you can’t keep down water, you don’t start to improve after a few days, or you have symptoms of severe dehydration (confusion, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes or being unable to pass urine).
Pregnant women, those over the age of 60, young kids, or people with conditions such as IBD, heart valve disease, diabetes, kidney disease, HIV or anyone undergoing cancer treatment, should also seek medical help.
Shellfish is a common cause of food poisoningCredit: Getty – Contributor
How quickly does food poisoning start?
The first symptoms of food poisoning normally come on about one or two hours after eating contaminated food – although they could take a few hours, or even weeks, to develop.
The main symptoms include:
- Tummy cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea/feeling sick
- Diarrhoea (which may contain blood or mucus)
- Lack of energy/weakness
- High temperature
- Aching muscles
Undercooked meats, such as pork, beef and poultry, could also make you illCredit: Getty – Contributor
What causes food poisoning?
If you’re wondering if you have food poisoning, it’s a good idea to think back over what you’ve eaten.
Food can become contaminated if it’s not cooked through properly, is not stored in the fridge if needed, is past its use-by date, is touched by someone who’s ill, or through cross contamination with other food.
Be especially careful with chopping boards, knives etc which have come into contact with raw meat.
Foods which can become contaminated include:
- Raw meat like beef, pork and poultry
- Shellfish like mussels
- Unpasteurised milk
- Ready-to-eat foods like sliced meats, pate, soft cheeses and pre-packed sandwiches
Brits should also be careful about eating salad abroad in certain countries.