The most common gastrointestinal symptoms associated with food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea and abdominal cramping, according to Mayo Clinic. Fever may also occur. Symptoms of food poisoning generally begin a few hours to a few weeks after consuming contaminated food and last from several hours to several days.
Severe symptoms of food poisoning, such as prolonged vomiting, bloody vomit or stools, diarrhea for more than three days, extreme abdominal pain and fever greater than 101.5 F, require urgent medical attention, notes Mayo Clinic. Other severe symptoms include blurry vision, muscle weakness, excessive thirst, infrequent urination and dizziness. Young children, pregnant women, elderly individuals and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People can reduce their risk of food poisoning by following food safety rules, explains the CDC. Frequently washing hands and kitchen surfaces, utensils and cutting boards is important in preventing the spread of germs in food. Separating raw meat, poultry, eggs and seafood from ready-to-eat foods prevents cross-contamination. Using a food thermometer is also recommended to ensure that food is thoroughly cooked. The CDC recommends cooking whole cuts of meat to at least 145 F, ground meat to 160 F, and poultry to 165 F.