What Are the Different Types of Food Poisoning?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell
Salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning.
Salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning.

Food poisoning is a relatively common occurrence and can cause symptoms that vary from mild to potentially life threatening. The different types of food poisoning include contamination by harmful types of bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Some examples of bacterial food poisoning include salmonella, botulism, and E. coli. Viral types of food poisoning include rotavirus, norovirus, and hepatitis. Parasites such as worms or fungi may also lead to food poisoning, especially in areas where clean water is difficult to find.

Stomach cramps may be a sign of food poisoning.
Stomach cramps may be a sign of food poisoning.

Bacterial types of food poisoning are the most common and include salmonella, botulism, and E. coli. Salmonella is caused primarily by contaminated meat or poultry and may cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea. Botulism is most often contracted through consumption of contaminated canned goods and may cause visual disturbances, muscle weakness or paralysis, or trouble breathing. E. coli may occur after consuming contaminated meat, dairy products, or produce, leading to symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, or extreme weakness.

Food contaminated with bacteria has been known to cause food poisoning.
Food contaminated with bacteria has been known to cause food poisoning.

Some types of food poisoning are caused by viruses instead of bacteria and include rotavirus, norovirus, and hepatitis. Rotavirus is relatively common among children and tends to cause symptoms such as diarrhea and dehydration. Norovirus is frequently referred to as the stomach flu and leads to stomach cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. Hepatitis A may be caused by food poisoning, and symptoms may involve yellowing of the skin or eyes, fatigue, and compromised liver function.

Often contracted from raw chicken, salmonellosis usually heals on its own within four to seven days.
Often contracted from raw chicken, salmonellosis usually heals on its own within four to seven days.

Parasites such as worms or fungus can cause some types of food poisoning. Flatulence, mucus in the stool, and weight loss are common symptoms of these types of food poisoning. In some cases, the parasites may be visible when a person has a bowel movement. Parasitic food poisoning is most commonly found in areas of the world where a clean water supply is not available, although it does sometimes occur in more developed areas of the world.

Contaminated canned goods can cause botulism.
Contaminated canned goods can cause botulism.

Many of the symptoms of food poisoning are the same, regardless of the underlying cause. A doctor will often need to perform a variety of tests in order to determine the exact types of food poisoning present. In some cases, the infection will clear up on its own without any specific medical treatment. In other cases, prescription medications may be used to help manage the symptoms. If severe dehydration occurs due to excessive vomiting or diarrhea, a brief stay in the hospital may become necessary so that fluids can be introduced directly into the body through a small catheter inserted into a vein.

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    • Salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning.
      By: Lyuba Bunakova
      Salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning.
    • Stomach cramps may be a sign of food poisoning.
      By: Julija Sapic
      Stomach cramps may be a sign of food poisoning.
    • Food contaminated with bacteria has been known to cause food poisoning.
      By: .shock
      Food contaminated with bacteria has been known to cause food poisoning.
    • Often contracted from raw chicken, salmonellosis usually heals on its own within four to seven days.
      By: Bill
      Often contracted from raw chicken, salmonellosis usually heals on its own within four to seven days.
    • Contaminated canned goods can cause botulism.
      By: kornienko
      Contaminated canned goods can cause botulism.
    • Food poisoning often results in vomiting.
      By: lightwavemedia
      Food poisoning often results in vomiting.