5 Surefire Signs You Have Food Poisoning and How to Treat It

signs you have food poisoning

Food poisoning is so common that one in six Americans will experience it at some point this year.

Pretty much any food can cause food poisoning, but some carry greater risk than others.

The period of time between when you get food poisoning and the start of your symptoms can range from a couple of hours to a few days. So, how do you be sure you have signs of food poisoning? And when is it time to see a doctor?

Keep reading for some foods to watch out for and five telltale signs you have food poisoning.

Surprising Foods to Watch Out For

The most common culprits of food poisoning are raw or undercooked meats, unwashed fruits and vegetables, and dairy products left out of the refrigerator.

Here are a few surprising foods that commonly cause food poisoning.

Rotisserie Chicken

A rotisserie chicken is a quick and easy meal to pick up from the grocery store, but be sure to eat it while it’s still hot!

If cooked chicken is left on the counter for any period of time, bacteria will begin to flourish. If your chicken is out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, it is best to play it safe and throw it away.

Leafy Greens

I know what you’re thinking: how can greens be bad for you?

Leafy green salads aren’t cooked, so they must be properly washed to be consumed safely. Bacteria love to hide in the crevices in the leaves.

You should wash greens by swirling them around in a bowl of cold water. This is more effective than rinsing them off under the faucet.


Sprouts require a humid environment to grow. This just so happens to be the perfect environment for bacteria.

Sprouts can be contaminated with bacteria in the seed stage. Washing the surface before eating them doesn’t always help.

You’re better off cooking sprouts before eating them or just skipping them altogether.


Bugs love grain. Flour is ground grain. So, if those bugs survive the milling process, they can end up in your baked goods.

Always wash your hands after working with flour, and don’t assume raw dough is safe just because it doesn’t have egg in it. 

5 Signs You Have Food Poisoning

Food poison commonly causes the following five symptoms.


One of the first signs of food poisoning is diarrhea. Diarrhea can cause a significant loss of fluid. This fluid loss causes dehydration, which is especially dangerous for infants and the elderly.

In underdeveloped countries, thousands of people die because of illnesses that cause dehydration.


People who have contracted food poisoning usually report that they generally don’t feel well.

You may have the inclination to vomit soon after consuming contaminated food.


It is common for people with food poisoning to vomit. Vomiting is a protective mechanism that rids your body of contaminants. 

The vomiting can turn to projectile vomiting if your body senses the bacteria is harmful enough.

You should be concerned if the vomiting is severe enough that you can’t keep fluids down, or if you notice blood.

Abdominal Pain

Your body will speed up the natural contractions of your bowel to rid itself of bacteria. 

This can cause cramping and painful inflammation of your stomach, which leads to abdominal pain.


A fever is a significant sign that your body is fighting an infection.

Infectious bacteria trick your body into thinking it is colder than it is, which causes your body temperature to rise.

This increase in fever activates your white blood cells, which go to work to fight the infection.

Now What?

A mild case of food poisoning will usually pass with rest and lots of fluid. But you should make an appointment with a doctor if you experience more extreme symptoms such as dehydration, diarrhea that lasts longer than 48 hours, severe pain or vomiting, or a fever of 102 or higher.

You should also seek medical help immediately if you are confused, have blurry vision, or experience muscle weakness.

Of course, even if you are not experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should never hesitate to consult a doctor if you are concerned.

Our urgent care locations are open seven days a week. If you are experiencing these signs you have food poisoning, don’t hesitate to find a location near you today.

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