Most cases of food poisoning are mild, lasting from one to three days. Since many people do not seek medical care, their food poisoning is not diagnosed.
Though your symptoms may sound suspicious, the only way to know for sure if you have food poisoning is to test the offending food or check the stool, blood, or vomit.
Chemical or toxin food poisoning can usually be diagnosed by a description of symptoms and by testing food potentially responsible for the poisoning.
The very young and the very
old may be most affected by food poisoning. Their symptoms may last longer, and
even the types of food poisoning that are typically mild can be
life-threatening. This may also be true for pregnant women and people with
impaired immune systems, such as those who have
long-lasting (chronic) illnesses.
Not all food poisoning causes diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and belly cramps. Some types of food
poisoning have different or more severe symptoms. These can include weakness,
numbness, confusion, or tingling of the face, hands, and feet.
Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea and vomiting,
can also be caused by organisms that aren't necessarily spread through food.
These organisms are mainly spread through water or personal contact.
Conditions caused by these organisms include infection
with the parasite Giardia lamblia.
Learn more about specific food poisoning organisms, including how they are spread, their symptoms, and their treatment: