Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling
In most cases, the diarrhea and other symptoms of food poisoning go away in 2 to 3 days, and you don't need treatment. It may be longer than 2 to 3 days until you feel normal again.
All you have to do is manage symptoms, especially diarrhea, and avoid complications until the illness passes. In most cases, Reference dehydration Opens New Window caused by diarrhea is the main complication.
Extra precautions should be taken to prevent Reference dehydration in children Opens New Window.
To learn more about treating dehydration, including in children, see Reference Home Treatment.
The goal of treatment is to replace fluids and Reference electrolytes Opens New Window lost through vomiting and diarrhea. If dehydration is severe and can't be managed at home, you may need treatment in the hospital, where fluids and electrolytes may be given to you by inserting a needle into your vein (intravenously).
Medicines that stop diarrhea (such as Imodium) can help with your symptoms. But these medicines shouldn't be used in children or in people with a high fever or bloody diarrhea. Reference Antibiotics Opens New Window are rarely used and only for certain types of food poisoning or in severe cases. Reference Pregnant women with Reference listeriosis or Reference toxoplasmosis may receive antibiotics.
For more information on treating diarrhea or dehydration, see:
- Reference Diarrhea, Age 11 and Younger.
- Reference Diarrhea, Age 12 and Older.
- Reference Dehydration.
For more information on treatment for specific organisms, see Reference Symptoms.
Botulism, E. coli infection, and infection during pregnancy
For more information, see:
Pregnant women should always consult their doctors if they think they may have food poisoning, because the infection can be passed on to the Reference fetus Opens New Window.
Toxoplasmosis and listeriosis can also harm your baby. If you are diagnosed with either of these conditions during pregnancy, you will be treated with antibiotics. To learn more, see Reference Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 18, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease