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According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), food poisoning is a serious and often unexpected disease that affects the digestive tract. According to the CDC, it is a common disease, with 48 million Americans suffering from “foodborne illness” each year.

NIDDK says it is contracted through “viruses, bacteria and parasites” that are present in food and beverages. These harmful foreign contaminants can be caused by failure to prepare or cook food properly. According to the NIDDK, most foreign pathogens should be eliminated through the cooking process.

How long does food poisoning last?
The NIDDK says the effects of food poisoning can appear within a few hours of digesting a contaminated substance and are usually not ignored. In rare cases, it can take several days for food poisoning symptoms to show up, so don’t always expect an immediate response if you’re concerned you’ve eaten contaminated food.

The NIDDK says the duration of food poisoning can vary, lasting a day or less for some people and up to a week for others.

What are the symptoms of food poisoning?
Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach problems such as cramps and vomiting, fever, nausea or diarrhea.

According to the CDC, dangerous food poisoning conditions include severe symptoms for more than three days, such as diarrhea, a high fever of 102 degrees, dehydration, or damage to vision or speech.

What to do if you have food poisoning
The best treatment for food poisoning is rest. Most of the time food poisoning will find its way out of your system, and after a period of bad days and nights, your body will recover naturally.

Hydration is also crucial, says the CDC. Consistent intake of water allows your body to fight bacteria at its best. Some people recommend Gatorade because of its electrolyte supply, but the CDC doesn’t recommend it. The CDC also recommends that you consult your health care provider when serious symptoms occur.

What illnesses are similar to food poisoning?
Gastrointestinal flu and food poisoning are often compared to each other, and while there are great similarities, time has set them apart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gastrointestinal flu causes symptoms to appear between 12 hours and two days after contracting the disease, while food poisoning usually appears and develops symptoms almost immediately within a few hours of infection.

The CDC says the COVID-19 omicron variant has similar symptoms, including vomiting, fever and nausea. However, Omicron can remain in your body for up to two weeks until symptoms even begin to appear, and a full quarantine is needed to ensure that the coronavirus does not continue to spread.


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