Signs you might have food poisoning

Have you ever had an upset stomach so bad that you felt like you wouldn’t survive the cramps and trips to the toilet? Food poisoning symptoms can vary from mild to severe and when it’s severe, you would be suffering extreme pain.

Usually, people get food poisoning by consuming food or drinks contaminated with certain types of bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins.

Sometimes a group of people can eat the same food and not all of them fall ill from poisoning. That’s because some people are more tolerant while others are more at risk of getting food poisoning such as the elderly, young children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.

How to know if you are experiencing food poisoning? If you have some or all of the following symptoms, you could be having food poisoning:

  1. nausea (feeling sick)
  2. diarrhoea
  3. vomiting
  4. stomach pains or cramps
  5. sweating, fever or chills
  6. headache
  7. lethargy (extreme tiredness).
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The symptoms of food poisoning vary depending on how contaminated the food is and can often look like viral gastro. If you suspect you have food poisoning, see your doctor or go to hospital as a diagnosis must be made by a medical professional.

If you suspect you have food poisoning

Consult your doctor, especially if you have severe symptoms or you have symptoms that have lasted for more than three days. You also want to see your health care professional if you cannot keep fluids down and if you notice blood or mucus in your vomit or diarrhoea.

If you happen to get food poisoning the treatment is straightforward, and you’re likely to be ‘out of action’ for up to five days. The important thing when it comes to treating your food poisoning is maintaining proper hydration — fruit juices and sports drinks can be good for dealing with your fatigue. However, you will want to avoid caffeine because it can irritate your digestive tract.

There are some over-the-counter medications you can purchase that can help control diarrhoea or nausea.

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You might also find yourself desperate for rest while you are battling the poisoning. Give in!

How you can reduce your risk of food poisoning

It’s a lot of common sense, but you want to wash your hands, utensils and food surfaces often. Don’t mix raw foods and ready-to-eat foods. Defrost food safely. Be sure to cook any food you plan on eating at a safe temperature. Avoid leaving perishable foods exposed for long periods of time, — ideally you want to store them in the fridge or freezer after two hours. When in doubt, throw it out.


Have you ever had food poisoning? What was the experience like for you?