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Food Poisoning

If you believe you have food poisoning, it is important that you contact your GP and request a stool sample to be sent off for microbiological testing. Once tested, the GP will forward confirmed food poisoning cases to us to investigate.

Without a confirmed diagnosis, we cannot confirm where you may have picked up your illness.

Symptoms of food borne illness include:

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • diarrhoea
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • stomach cramps
  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • feeling generally unwell – such as feeling tired or having aches and chills

The symptoms usually start within a few days of eating the food that caused the infection.

Sometimes they start after a few hours or not for a few weeks.

Most food poisoning is rarely serious and usually gets better within a week. You can normally treat yourself or your child at home.

These symptoms could also be a viral infection (Noro virus - see below) usually picked up by being in contact with people who are ill or contaminated surfaces or simply form poor personal hygiene. For example:  not washing hands before eating food such as pizza, chicken wings and fried chicken and other foods eaten with hands.


How to treat food borne illness yourself

You can usually treat yourself or your child at home.

The symptoms usually pass within a week.

Stay off school or work until the symptoms have stopped for 2 days. This is when you're most infectious.

How you get food born illness

You can catch food borne illness if you eat something that has been contaminated with germs.

This can happen if food:

  • isn't cooked or reheated thoroughly
  • isn't stored correctly – for example, it's not been frozen or chilled
  • is left out for too long
  • is handled by someone who's ill or hasn't washed their hands
  • if you have picked up bacteria from surfaces and not washed your hands before eating 
  • is eaten after its "use by" date

Any type of food can cause food borne illness. Read tips to avoid food poisoning.

Infections that cause food poisoning

Food poisoning is usually caused by:

  • campylobacter bacteria – the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK
  • salmonella bacteria
  • E. coli bacteria
  • norovirus