Food Poisoning

Symptoms of food poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, fever and stomach cramping, and usually begin 3 to 36 hours after eating tainted food. Symptoms usually last from 12 hours to several days. Although food poisoning usually has to run its course, here are some ideas to help lessen symptoms.


  • STEP 1: Consult your doctor if the symptoms are severe or if you have severe abdominal pain. You may be suffering from something more serious than food poisoning.
  • STEP 2: Sip clear fluids. Dehydration is the primary concern when experiencing vomiting or diarrhea.
  • STEP 3: Take small amounts of fluid frequently. Electrolyte replacements (such as sports drinks) are your best options. You can also sip flat ginger ale, which may help settle your stomach.
  • STEP 4: Suck on ice chips if nothing else stays down.
  • STEP 5: Introduce food slowly after vomiting stops.
  • STEP 6: Eat bland, easily digestible foods such as soda crackers if you are still having diarrhea. Bananas, applesauce, rice and toast are good.
  • STEP 7: Avoid milk, fatty foods, high fiber and caffeine for a few days until you are feeling better' these foods are harder to digest.
  • STEP 8: Limit your time in the sun, as this may dehydrate you further.
  • STEP 9: Gradually resume your normal diet once symptoms subside.
  • STEP 10: Contact your doctor if symptoms fail to subside in 24 hours.

Tips and Warnings

  • You can use over-the-counter medications to control vomiting or diarrhea, but it is usually better not to use anything for at least the first 6 or 8 hours. The bacteria or virus causing the problem will pass from your body faster if you don't try to slow it down.
  • This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.