Skip to content

Food Poisoning Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling - Treatment Overview

In most cases, the diarrhea and other symptoms of food poisoning go away in 2 to 3 days, and you don't need treatment. It may be longer than 2 to 3 days until you feel normal again.

All you have to do is manage symptoms, especially diarrhea, and avoid complications until the illness passes. In most cases, dehydration caused by diarrhea is the main complication.

Recommended Related to Food Poisoning

Understanding Food Poisoning -- Prevention

Here are some tips to prevent food poisoning: Always wash hands before preparing any food; wash utensils with hot soapy water after using them to prepare any meat or fish. Don't thaw frozen meat at room temperature. Let meat thaw gradually in a refrigerator, or thaw it quickly in a microwave oven and cook immediately. Avoid uncooked marinated food and raw meat, fish, or eggs; cook all such food thoroughly. Check expiration dates on all foods. In restaurants, return any undercooked...

Read the Understanding Food Poisoning -- Prevention article > >

Extra precautions should be taken to prevent dehydration in children.

To learn more about treating dehydration, including in children, see Home Treatment.

The goal of treatment is to replace fluids and electrolytes lost through vomiting and diarrhea. If dehydration is severe and can't be managed at home, you may need treatment in the hospital, where fluids and electrolytes may be given to you by inserting a needle into your vein (intravenously).

Medicines that stop diarrhea (such as Imodium) can help with your symptoms. But these medicines shouldn't be used in children or in people with a high fever or bloody diarrhea. Antibiotics are rarely used and only for certain types of food poisoning or in severe cases. Pregnant women with listeriosis or toxoplasmosis may receive antibiotics.

For more information on treating diarrhea or dehydration, see:

For more information on treatment for specific organisms, see Symptoms.

Botulism, E. coli infection, and infection during pregnancy

For botulism and some cases of E. coliE. coli poisoning, immediate and intensive medical care is usually needed.

For more information, see:

Pregnant women should always consult their doctors if they think they may have food poisoning, because the infection can be passed on to the fetus.

Toxoplasmosis and listeriosis can also harm your baby. If you are diagnosed with either of these conditions during pregnancy, you will be treated with antibiotics. To learn more, see Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

shopper selecting beef
Practical tips.
woman holding abdomen
Learn the symptoms.
 
listeria bacteria and cantaloupe
Learn about listeria.
kebabs on a barbecue
Tips for grilling safely.
 
Are Some Eggs Safer Than Others
Article
Do You Need To Wash Bagged Salads
Video
 
Woman grilling seafood
Article
Organic Food Slideshow
Slideshow
 

Explore our newly expanded FDA Center on WebMD for timely information on food safety, allergies, diabetes, vitamins & supplements, and more!

turkey
Slideshow
The Dangers Of E Coli
Video
 
Secrets Of Safe Grilling
Slideshow
How Long Can You Keep Condiments
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections