Food Poisoning Symptoms

The symptoms of raleigh food poisoning can vary in severity and form depending on the contaminant that was consumed.  The onset of symptoms can range from hours to days after consuming contaminated drink or food.  Frequent symptoms associated with food poisoning include:

  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild fever

In most cases, food poisoning will resolve without treatment in about two days.  Should diarrhea or vomiting occur, ensuring adequate fluid and electrolyte intake will help prevent dehydration.  If the symptoms of food poisoning are severe, patients should contact a healthcare provider or doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

Patients should contact a doctor if they experience any of the following:

  • High fever – temperature over 102°F
  • Bloody stools
  • Frequent vomiting which prevents the patient from holding liquids down (can lead to dehydration)
  • Diarrhea lasting longer than 3 days
  • Signs of dehydration including little or no urination, feeling dizzy when standing up, or excessively dry throat or mouth.

While mild food poisoning may be manageable at home without medical treatment, severe cases can require hospitalization, and could lead to long-term health problems or even death.  Chronic arthritis, nerve damage, brain damage, and kidney failure are other issues that can arise from untreated food poisoning.

Common Food Poisoning Sources and Symptoms

As previously mentioned, the onset of food poisoning can vary from hours to days depending on what the contaminant is.  Food poisoning is typically bacterial in nature but can be transmitted virally or from parasites.  The following list provides common symptoms, timing of symptom onset, and common food sources associated with different causes of food poisoning.

Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)

  • Symptom Onset After Exposure: 30 minutes to 6 hours.
  • Common Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps.
  • Common Sources: Foods that are improperly cooked after handling including sliced meats, sandwiches, pastries, and puddings.

Clostridium perfringens

  • Symptom Onset After Exposure: 6 to 24 hours.
  • Common Symptoms: Stomach cramps and diarrhea.  Fever and vomiting are less common.  Onset is often sudden and generally lasts less than one day.
  • Common Sources: Poultry or beef, gravies, precooked or dried foods.


  • Symptom Onset After Exposure: 6 hours to 6 days.
  • Common Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and a fever.
  • Common Sources: Raw or improperly cooked poultry, meat, eggs, raw vegetables, raw fruits, unpasteurized milk, and juice.  Other animals, reptiles, amphibians, and rodents can carry Salmonella though these are less common sources.


  • Symptom Onset After Exposure: 12 to 48 hours.
  • Common Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain.
  • Common Sources: Contaminated foods such as leafy greens, shellfish, water, or fresh fruits.  Can also be transmitted person-to-person or through touching exposed surfaces.


  • Symptom Onset After Exposure: 1 to 4 days.
  • Common Symptoms: Nausea, stomach cramps, watery diarrhea, vomiting, chills, fever.
  • Common Sources: Shellfish, especially oysters, that are raw or undercooked.


  • Symptom Onset After Exposure: 2 to 5 days.
  • Common Symptoms: Stomach cramps or pain, fever, diarrhea (frequently bloody).
  • Common Sources: Contaminated water, raw or improperly cooked poultry, unpasteurized milk.

E.coli (Escherichia coli)

  • Symptom Onset After Exposure: 3 to 4 days.
  • Common Symptoms: Diarrhea (frequently bloody), severe cramping, vomiting.  Roughly 5-10% of people will develop life-threatening complications.
  • Common Sources: Ground beef (raw/undercooked), unpasteurized milk/juice, raw sprouts, contaminated water, and raw vegetables.


  • Symptom Onset After Exposure: 7 days.
  • Common Symptoms: No appetite, weight loss, watery diarrhea, bloating, cramping, increased gas, fatigue, and nausea.
  • Common Sources: Raw vegetables, fruits, herbs.


  • Symptom Onset After Exposure: 1 to 4 weeks.
  • Common Symptoms: Headache, neck stiffness, loss of balance, confusion, fever, and convulsions.  Pregnant women generally experience flu-like symptoms which can lead to complications or death in newborns.
  • Common Sources:  Soft cheeses, raw sprouts, hot dogs, deli meats, smoked seafood, melons, and unpasteurized milk.

More on Food Poisoning : Treatments for food poisoning