Food Poisoning: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Home Remedies


It’s the weekend and you may find it a good time to go out with friends or family for dinner. There may be times when you may have a stomach upset due to food contamination. However, such times require immediate medical assistance. In contemporary terms, food poisoning is the result of relying on food that is consumed outside.

Food Poisoning

You need to keep in mind that the food which is prepared in a restaurant may not be cooked well or may not contain hygienic ways of preparing them. This leads to food contamination and you may develop severe vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. Before we understand the causes of food poisoning, let’s understand what is food poisoning.

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning can be referred to the intake of contaminated, spoil or toxic food that can be injurious for your health. However, this sort of food intoxication can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 Americans are affected with food intoxication every year.

In India, the rate is doubling because of many online restaurants that do not maintain hygiene while preparing and processing fast food. So, make it a point to prepare some delicious and healthy home-cooked food and prevent yourself from the risk of food poisoning.

Must-Know Facts About Food Poisoning:

Everyone knows what is food poisoning and certainly how this intoxication is caused. But here are some must-know facts about it that will shed some more light on the topic.

  • Food intoxication is primarily caused due to bacteria and viruses that grow in the food. So, when consumed, this leads to food poisoning.
  • The main bacteria that is found in contaminated food is dysentery bacteria.
  • Diarrhoea due to food poisoning begins to show signs after 72 hours of consuming contaminated food.
  • If you are suffering from food poisoning, then you need to blame the food that you consumed 2 days back and not the one you ate a few hours back.
  • Food poisoning is caused due to meat and poultry foods.

Food Poisoning Causes:

There are many factors that trigger food poisoning and this could become something serious if you do not deal with it immediately. Rather than toxic substances that cause food poisoning, viruses, bacteria and parasites are the integral causes. However, here is what could be the primary factor that triggers food poisoning.

1. Bad Bacteria:

Bad bacteria is the primary cause for food poisoning and when harmful bacteria like E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria strikes you, then you will need immediate hospitalisation. However, Salmonella is the most dangerous virus that is responsible for food poisoning.

2. Deadly Viruses:

Food intoxication can also be caused due to viruses. The Norwalk virus that causes 19 million cases of food poisoning every year worldwide. Some of these deadly viruses are sapovirus, rotavirus and astrovirus.

3. Parasites:

Food intoxication that is caused due to bad bacteria is different from that of food intoxication that is caused by parasites. This is usually not a common occurrence. But if this happens then your condition can be life-threatening. Parasites are organisms that steal the nourishment from other living organisms known as hosts. These parasites spread quickly in food and can be very dangerous. Some of the most common parasites are protozoa, tapeworms and roundworms.

Food Poisoning Symptoms:

Food poisoning can lead to serious health issues, but the question is how do you identify that you are suffering from food intoxication? This disease can be detected easily, but the symptoms can vary based on the infection and its severity. Well, here are some symptoms that will help you recognise that you are suffering from food poisoning.

Starting Stage Symptoms:

These symptoms are common ones and are not considered serious. However, there are better chances that you can recover soon.

  • Diarrhoea
  • Severe nausea and headaches.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Body weakness
  • Low fever

Life-Threatening Symptoms:

These symptoms can be life-threatening and the individual requires immediate medical assistance. If you have symptoms as below-listed, then you need to consult a doctor at the earliest.

  • If you have diarrhoea for a continuous 3 days.
  • If fever is higher than 101.5 degrees.
  • If you face difficulty speaking or seeing.
  • Blood colour urine.
  • Dehydration.

Food Poisoning Treatment:

Food poisoning can be life-threatening, but with timely treatment and medical help, you can get well soon. Food poisoning can be treated at home and it will resolve within a week. But sometimes your condition can get worse and you may require immediate medical help. Here is some immediate first aid to get rid of food poisoning.

  • Stay hydrated by drinking electrolytes and plenty of water.
  • Drink fruit juice and coconut water. This will restore carbohydrates and beat fatigue.
  • Do not consume caffeine.
  • Make sure that you take plenty of rest.

Note: All the above-listed remedies can work for some time, but you will have to consult a doctor immediately. In more serious cases, food poisoning will require longer hospitalisation.

Foods To Eat When You Have Food Poisoning:

The first sign that you may be suffering from food poisoning is vomiting and diarrhoea. So it is advised that you consume solid foods that are easy to digest. This means that the food must be bland and low in fat. Here is what foods you can eat when you are suffering from food poisoning.

  • Gelatin
  • Banana
  • Rice
  • Chicken broth.
  • Boiled vegetables.
  • Toast

Foods You Shouldn’t Eat When You Have Food Poisoning:

Here are some foods that you need to resist when you are battling down with food poisoning. These foods will complicate your problem and you will have to reach the hospital. In order to prevent your stomach from getting even more upset, here are some foods that you need to say no to.

  • Milk and cheese.
  • Foods with high sugar content.
  • Foods that are spicy
  • Fried foods (Fried chips, mixtures etc.)
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption.
  • Restrict yourself from caffeine (Sugary soda drinks and coffee)

Food Poisoning Home Remedies:

Food poisoning symptoms can be cured at home, provided that it is in the starting stage. It is always good to take good care of your health by eating home-cooked food that can do you good and prevent you from many diseases. Here are some home remedies that can prevent you from food poisoning.

1. Garlic:

Garlic has cardiac properties and aids in good digestion too. If you are suffering from food poisoning, all you need to do is swallow some garlic every day with a glass of water or you can also consume some garlic juice and this will do you good. If you don’t like consuming garlic, then you can mix some garlic with some soybeans oil and massage it on your stomach after = dinner and this will reduce some of the symptoms of food poisoning.

2. Banana:

Banana is good food for digestion and can reduce loose stools. One of the main symptoms of suffering from food poisoning is having diarrhoea. All you need to do is to consume one ripe banana daily after your meal and this will help you get rid of food intoxication.

3. Cumin Seeds:

Cumin seeds, also popularly known as “zeera” in India is a popular home remedy that can cure food poisoning. All you need to do is to boil some cumin seeds along with some coriander extract and consume it at least twice a day. You need to consume this for at least two to three times every day for good results.

4. Apple:

Consuming apple can cure you of food poisoning as this fruit has the tendency to reduce reflux and heartburns. It also restricts the formation of bad bacteria that cause stomach ache and diarrhoea. All you need to do is to just consume one apple every day and this will do you good.

5. Honey:

Honey has loads of antibacterial and antifungal properties that make this a superfood that can cure food poisoning. If you are suffering from food poisoning, then you need to consume at least three teaspoons of honey every day or you can also mix it with some tea, and this will do you good.

6. Lemon:

Lemon is considered as the best remedy for almost all illnesses. When it comes to food poisoning, all you need to do is to just mix one teaspoon of lemon juice with some sugar and consume it every day. If you are suffering from food poisoning, then you can make lukewarm lime juice and drink it.

World’s Most Deadly Foods That Cause Food Poisoning:

The best possible way you can prevent food poisoning is by eating home-cooked food. Also, make sure that you avoid certain foods that are unsafe for your health. Food poisoning is caused due to the way in which certain foods are processed. Some of these foods are eggs, poultry, meat and shellfish. If these foods have not been processed properly then, this will cause food intoxication. Moreover, here are some global foods that can cause food intoxication.

  • Sushi and other fish products that are consumed raw or half cooked.
  • Hot dogs that are not cooked well.
  • Beef mixed with other meat.
  • Unpasteurized milk and cheese
  • Unwashed fruits and vegetables

Note: Make sure that you always wash your hands before eating anything. You need to keep in mind that food hygiene is a priority for you and your family. Also, make sure that you cook your food well before consumption. Half-cooked food can be very injurious for your health and can cause further complications.


Recovering from food poisoning can be time-consuming and so preventing it from affecting you is the key. Food poisoning can be very dangerous and life-threatening for you and so here are some frequently asked questions that will give you an insight into the topic.

1. What if you get food poisoning while you pregnant?

Pregnant mothers are more prone to developing foodborne illnesses during pregnancy because the mother’s immune system is altered. During pregnancy, most of your energy is spent on growing your baby and an expecting mother must be cautious about what she consumes because it is not just about her. In case you are suffering from food poisoning when pregnant, then this can be dangerous for you and your baby.

2. How long does it take to recover from food poisoning?

If you are having mild symptoms of food poisoning, then you can get yourself healed within 5 days. If you are suffering from botulism, then your healthcare professional will recommend hospitalisation. Botulism is usually caused due to improperly processed foods.

3. When do have to see a doctor?

Food poisoning can be treated well at home using some of the above-listed home remedies, but there are times when you will have to consult a doctor. Here are some extreme symptoms of food poisoning that you will have to look out for.

    • Frequent vomiting.
    • Bloody stools
    • If diarrhoea lasts for more than 3 days.
    • Severe abdominal cramps
    • Dehydration-excessive thirst, dryness in the mouth, little or no urination and dizziness.
    • Blurry vision.
    • Muscle weakness.

Note: The above-listed signs are a sign that your symptoms are on the extreme end and that you will have to visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Food poisoning can’t always be treated at home and thus you may require hospitalisation based on your body condition. Keep in mind that your health is a priority and eat home-cooked food. This will keep you healthy and grow a healthy lifestyle. Avoid buying online food that can cause health complications. Also, make it a point that you cook your food well before consuming it. This is because of half-cooked food will put you on the 90% risk for developing food intoxication. So live healthy, eat healthily.

News on Food Poisoning:

Restaurant Kills 1 and Affects 29 Due To Food Poisoning in Spain

-21st March 2019

A Michelin-starred restaurant had resulted in killing one woman and 29 diners due to food poisoning. The victim was identified as a 46-year old woman who died after consuming a meal at the restaurant. However, the victim’s husband as well her 12-year old son also suffered from food poisoning but are said to be recovering as usual.

Food inspectors had visited the restaurant and did not get an appropriate explanation for the outbreak. Moreover, food samples were taken and have been sent to Spain’ National Toxicology Institue for analysis.

Head Chef and Owner of the restaurant expressed his grief over the victims and said, “I have decided to close the restaurant until the very cause is brought out”. Moreover, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Globally 1 in 10  people are said to fall sick from food contamination every year.

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