Food poisoning is caused by eating contaminated food. In most
cases the food hasn’t been cooked properly and is contaminated
by bacteria such as salmonella or Escherichia coli (E. coli), which
are found mainly in meat.
Someone may feel the effects of food poisoning within a few
hours, and will often be sick or have diarrhoea. However, in some
cases it can take up to three days.
The effects of food poisoning can make someone feel extremely
ill. The most important thing is for you to keep encouraging the
person to drink water so they don’t get dehydrated. Most people
will get better without needing treatment.
What to look for - Food poisoning
If you think someone may have food poisoning, these are the five
key things to look for:
- Feeling sick
- Vomiting, sometimes bloodstained
- Stomach cramps
- Headache or fever
What you need to do - Food poisoning
• If you notice any of these symptoms, tell the person to
lie down and rest.
• Give them plenty of water and a bowl to use in case they
• Encourage them to drink as much water as they
can, even if they can only manage regular small sips. If they have
diarrhoea, it’s even more important that they drink water to
replace lost fluids.
• Giving them an oral rehydration solution is good to way
to replace fluids lost through diarrhoea and vomiting. This
solution can replace salt and other minerals which they have lost.
You can buy it in a pharmacy as a sachet which you dissolve in
• If the person gets worse, then advise them to call their
doctor or call 999 or 112 for emergency medical help.