What do you do if you ate expired food?

In this article, we will answer the question “What do you do if you ate expired food?”, what is food poisoning, what causes food poisoning, and how to take care of yourself if you get food poisoning.

What do you do if you ate expired food?

If you ate expired food, chances are you would get food poisoning. Generally, the symptoms of food poisoning do not last for more than 3 days. So, you can cope with it by getting sleep, taking rest, eating bland foods, and drinking plenty of fluids.

If the symptoms last longer than 3 days or become progressively worse, seek medical help. Read on if you want to know what symptoms you should be looking out for.

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning or food-borne illness is caused by eating contaminated food or water. Food spoilage can be microbial, physiological, or chemical. 

Food that is spoiled as a result of microbial buildup may contain the vegetative cells of the spoilage and/or pathogenic bacteria or the toxins produced by the pathogenic bacteria.

The most common symptoms of food poisoning are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. That being said, you may also experience headaches, loss of appetite, fever, and weakness.

If the food poisoning takes a serious turn, the patient may experience severe symptoms of food poisoning such as diarrhea persistent for more than 3 days, a fever reaching or exceeding 102°F (38.9°C), impaired ability of speech and vision, bloody urine, and extreme dehydration.

Depending upon the pathogenicity of the microbe and the number of the cell or toxins ingested, food poisoning may last for as brief as 30 minutes and as long as 8 weeks.

What are the culprits of food poisoning?


Bacteria notorious for causing food poisoning are E.coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter, C.botulinum, S. aureus, Shigella, and Vibrio species. Of all the food poisoning cases, mos are caused by Salmonella.


Food poisoning is caused by ingesting food that contains parasites is rare. Notorious parasites in this regard include Toxoplasma gondii, Trichinella, Ascaris lumbricoides, Cryptosporidium, etc.

Cases of food poisoning due to Toxoplasmosis have soared to a new high in the US. people with a compromised immune system such as the elderly, kids, and pregnant women are at a greater risk of getting food poisoning. 


Viruses such as norovirus, rotavirus, and hepatitis A virus are the most common causes of virus-related food poisoning. 

How to take care of yourself if you get food poisoning?

Drink plenty of fluids 

Some fluids make you further dehydrated and some replenish your lost electrolytes. Opt for the latter. This category includes sports drinks, coconut water, fruit juice, and herbal teas without caffeine such as chamomile, peppermint, dandelion, and just plain water.

Take Over-the-counter (OTC) medications 

OTC medications such as Imodium and Pepto-Bismol are well-known for controlling diarrhea. But we recommend not solely relying on this treatment. 

Although they do a great job at relieving the symptom of food poisoning, they may not necessarily nip it in the bud and delay the healing. So, what you should do instead is to contact your doctor before taking any medication. 

Take prescription medications 

Prescription medications are particularly for those with a severe case of food poisoning or those with an already compromised immunity. Depending on the pathogen in question, your doctor may prescribe you an antibiotic and antiparasitic medication. 

Take an antitoxin

If the pathogen in question is C.botulinum, you should seek immediate medical help. This emergency calls for administering an antitoxin such as BabyBIG (botulism immune globulin) if the infected is a baby. Adult cases of C. botulinum are immediately given mechanical ventilation.

Take rest 

Do not indulge in tasks or activities that require too much physical or mental exertion. Take plenty of rest and let your immune system fight the enemy for you. Patients with a severe case of food poisoning need an immediate Intravenous fluid (IV) injection. 

Eat nutritious food 

Eat light, bland, and low-fat food so that the food is not too heavy on your stomach. Examples include saltine crackers, toast, gelatin, bananas, rice, oatmeal, bland potatoes, boiled veggies, chicken broth, decaffeinated soda, diluted fruit juices, and sports drinks. 

Foods to avoid are as important as foods to eat if you are experiencing a foodborne illness. Avoid fatty foods such as dairy products, fried foods, high-sugar, and too spicy foods. 


In this article, we answered the question “What do you do if you ate expired food?”, what is food poisoning, what causes food poisoning, and how to take care of yourself if you get food poisoning.




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