How long does food poisoning last?


28 Responses to “How long does food poisoning last?”

  1. Mister44 says:

    I very  rarely drink alone. Social drinker FTW. But one time I found an odd beer in the fridge and thought – hey, what the hell!

    Big Mistake.

    I didn’t check the ‘born on date’, but I think it ended up being over a year old. I was soooo sick, just vomiting and voiding my bowels every 10-15min for hours. I stood up all night doing this. By the morning it stopped, but I slept most of the day afterwards.

    • marilove says:

      I drink alone sometimes.  In fact, I had a really great IPA last night with my pasta dinner.  Because beer is delicious.  Drinking great beers alone FTW.

  2. MonkeyBoy says:

    On the other hand I get a few times a year very minor cases of “food poisoning”  where a few hours after I have eaten something I have a single mild episode of the shits. Maybe my body has learned to quickly get rid of something that seems bad before it gets worse.

    • marilove says:

      That’s probably normal for most people, and probably not food poisoning either.  Sometimes your body just doesn’t agree with something.  Or there is another reason you have the shits.  Not necessarily food-related.

      • MonkeyBoy says:

         It definitely is when 2 or more people who have eaten the same food had the same reaction after  the same time period.

        I believe almost all cases of the shits are caused by micro organisms and most often food borne ones.

        What alternative reasons are there for the shits?

        • marilove says:

          When multiple people have the same symptoms, then I agree with you.  However!

          “What alternative reasons are there for the shits?”

          Eating too much of certain fruits or drinking too much fruit juice (I have done this lol).  Or if you’re lactose intolerant.  Or certain medications (antibiotics).  IBS. An ulcer. Getting nervous before a big event.


          I have a stomach highly sensitive to anxiety. So.

        • Guest says:

          fullness of spirit?

  3. chicagoandy says:

    What is the stomach flu if not a foodborne illness?   Hint:  It’s not influenza.

    • Sometimes it’s rotavirus, which is not usually foodboorne. It’s spread when kids don’t wash their hands well after they poop and touch another kid’s hand, which then goes into the mouth or nose. Some strains are able to spread in contaminated water. Adults usually have plenty of acquired immunity to rotaviruses.  There’s also norovirus, which is less common, but when it hits, it hits hard. Norovirus is also spread primarily by direct contact.

  4. marilove says:

    I haven’t read the whole thing yet so I don’t know if this has been addressed yet, but this “reactive arthritis” — arthritis is an auto-immune disorder, correct?
    It’s pretty common for auto-immune diseases to be “triggered” by some sort of trauma (even sunlight, for some!).

    The development of an autoimmune disease may be influenced by the genes a person inherits together with the way the person’s immune system responds to certain triggers or environmental influences.Some autoimmune diseases are known to begin or worsen with certain triggers such as viral infections. 

    So, it’s possible that a bad case of food poisoning triggered the arthritis, though it could have easily been something else.

  5. Hugh Stearns says:

    Have you read Rachel Carson?  Monasanto has mad food poisoning a way of life. 

  6. Jonathan Badger says:

    I recently had what I am pretty sure was foodborne illness. It arrived in the middle of a friend’s birthday party, a sudden onslaught of misery that lasted for the next 8 hours, reminding me, horribly, of a similar scene in The Mask of the Red Death.

    So, you had profuse bleeding at the pores as Poe describes? That sounds more like hematidrosis than food poisoning… (yes, I know you were probably exaggerating your discomfort for humorous purposes).

    • Art says:

      @  Jonathan.  It’s an apt description for the horror of it.  Food poisoning is probably far worse than anything Poe could have imagined. 

      I am glad to hear you’re feeling better,  Maggie!

    • It was more the experience of standing in the middle of a party and realizing that something was terribly wrong with me. That’s the image from that story that’s always stuck in my mind. 

  7. Antinous / Moderator says:

    The human body is basically an autoimmune machine waiting to be turned on.

  8. duc chau says:

    OMG… a couple of months I had a stomach bug. No fever just horrible stomach pain and overall feeling terrible. For a week or two after my stomach was pretty sensitive to the touch. Then it got better but I would still get these brief pains in my stomach over the next couple of months. Then about two weeks ago, I had another bout of stomach pain that lasted about a week.

    It’s actually comforting knowing that it could be recurrent food born illness rather than something more malignant. Either way I’m going to the doctor.

    Thanks for the article. Interesting stuff.

  9. Matthew Valentine says:

    You have to differentiate between food poisoning and food-borne infections. Food-borne illness is usually Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter for bacterial infections. Anything transmitted by the “fecal-oral route” (gross I know but that’s what it’s called and it’s an accurate description) can be food borne. The viral diseases mentioned above fall into that category – Norwalk, Rotavirus, Norwalk. But others can be transmitted that way to, like Hepatitis A and Typhoid (Typhoid Mary, anyone?).

    Food poisoning, on the other hand, is not actually an infection. You literally get poisoned by toxins produced by bacteria living on the food, not from the bacteria actually invading your body and starting to grow. The common culprits are Staph areas and Bacillus cereus. They’re the one’s that make you sick when you eat the potato salad that’s been sitting out at the picnic too long, or the leftover fried rice that wasn’t refrigerated. But there are many other types as well – botulism actually falls into this category as well.

    Because you are ingesting a preformed toxin when you get food poisoning, you get sick fairly quickly – within 4-8 hours. You’re violently ill while your body tries to purge itself of the toxin, but you’re usually ok after 24-48 hours. Food-borne infections take longer though. The bacteria take time to grow in your intestines to actually build up the infection. It can take several days to over a week. That’s why outbreaks of these infections are much harder to trace – people have a much harder time remembering what they ate a week ago, and the list of foods they ate over that time is much longer than what they ate over the past 8 hours.

  10. stumo says:

    I can’t help thinking correlation vs causation here. If we assume there are some people who are better at fighting off illness (of all kinds), they won’t get as many food borne infections (from the same dose as your ‘average person’), or any other disease.

    That said, it’s an interesting idea, and certainly worth looking at-just it’s difficult how to discount the above.

  11. Jeremy Pickett says:

    timely article–yesterday at 8am i was at work feeling fine.  10:30 am a couple hours after eating a bagel/cream cheese and some orange juice i was doing things in the bathroom noone (especially me) wanted to see or hear.  i’m mostly better 30 hours later, but next time i think i’m giving the cream cheese a miss.

  12. jimh says:

    Interesting article. A while back I had a 24-hour bout of serious food poisoning accompanied by fever/nausea/runs that more or less wrung me out completely.  It took a while to be able to keep any food down, and then I was able to do simple broth and rice only. Even after “recovering” I developed a gluten sensitivity. Formerly having an “iron stomach”, being able to eat and digest anything with ease, I suddenly had all sorts of issues.

    My theory was that the baddie that I had ended up killing off some of my basic gut bacteria. After a lot of probiotics, daily yogurt, kombucha, etc, I am finally able to eat some wheat again. It’s been more than six months.

  13. Donald Petersen says:

    My wife got clobbered by Mystery Ralph just last night.  She’d eaten spaghetti made with the same beef that went into the two burritos that I’d eaten last evening, and by 11:30 she felt just awful, nauseated and with a bad headache and stomachache.  After a noisy and voluminous purge into a nearby wastebasket, she caught her breath, brushed her teeth, took a pair of Advils and fell back to sleep.  Felt just fine this morning.  We still can’t tell if it was food-borne or just some digestive disagreement.  My burritos behaved quite well in my own innards, and I was really hoping it wasn’t a contagious bug, because we really don’t want our kids to come down with anything.  At the moment it just looks like a mercifully brief attack, because my poor wife was perfectly miserable for those 15 minutes or so.

    Also, I’m afraid to ask, but I just can’t make it out. What exactly is this picture at the top of the page portraying?

  14. Blaine Higgy says:

    Two years or so ago I bought a pack of deli meat at Costco. Very tasty.

    A day or so after a sandwich with some of that meat I started feeling poorly. Over the next few days I had chills, fever, the squirts, achy joints (no vomiting tho which is good cuz I hate vomiting) and missed a few days of work.

    Felt better after about a week. Was pretty sure that I had eaten something bad but it is usually hard to tell what it was when these things happen.

    After I was feeling better I looked in the fridge and saw that there was still some deli meat left so I made a nice big sandwich. Very tasty!

    Literally two hours later I got a message on my land line from Costco informing me that I had bought a pack of deli meat that may have been contaminated with salmonella and that I should not eat it and to return it to Costco for a full refund.

    My first thought was “How the hell do they know my home phone number?” Followed two seconds later by “Dumbass, they have your info from your membership credit card info.” Followed two more seconds later by “Gee I wish they had called me three hours ago”.

    I was prepared for another bout of feeling crappy but  it didn’t happen so I guess my body was able to fend off the bad guys the second time around.

    A couple of days after the phone call from Costco I received a form letter in the mail basically repeating what the phone message had said.

    Turned out that the imported (from India) black pepper used in the salami was contaminated with salmonella.

    Anyway, Costco still carries the deli meat (the manufacturer did a complete factory sterilization and switched importers of black pepper) from the company that made it and I still buy it and eat it.

    Haven’t had any issues with it since.

    But as they say, shit occasionally happens.

    • Guest says:

      Good thing you weren’t elderly, an infant , or already very sick.

      But yeah, blech. Glad you made it through.

  15. Salesmonkey says:

    We should also all be concerned that food and agricultural inspections are yet another target of the de-funding agenda of the Republican party.  106 years of improving food safety due to USDA inspections has led people to forget just how dangerous the food supply was when producers were not regulated or inspected.

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