While symptoms can vary depending on the cause of food poisoning, Mayo Clinic states that most forms manifest with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache and fever that may appear within a few hours to a few weeks after initial exposure and can last up to several days. If experiencing severe symptoms, such as bloody vomit, high fever, dehydration and an inability to keep fluids down, individuals should seek medical help.
According to Mayo Clinic, cross contamination is the most frequent cause of food poisoning, often through salads or other foods that are not cooked prior to consumption. Multiple bacteria can cause food poisoning.
Although anyone can get food poisoning, the elderly, the very young, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are more susceptible and more likely to display more severe symptoms. Though this is rare, pregnant women occasionally pass food poisoning onto their fetuses.
To treat food poisoning, Mayo Clinic recommends keeping hydrated and replacing fluids and electrolytes to offset or prevent the effects of dehydration. If vomiting and diarrhea are serious or the individual is unable to hold liquids down, nutrients may need to be provided intravenously. Doctors may also prescribe antibiotics for severe cases of food poisoning.