How long does food poisoning take before you get really sick?

I ate at a buffet restaurant 23 hours ago. Felt a little ill a few hours ago (not bad), but now I have a fever and am puking my guts out. Does food poisoning usually take this long to incubate? I thought you got sick the night you ate bad food?

6-8 hours, I think. You’re more likely sick from the kids rubbing snot on the food than from the food itself.

What did you have for breakfast/lunch Jeff? I bet that’s your most likely suspect.

Normal onset of bacteria-borne food-related illness is indeed 6-9 hours, 7-8 being average.

Given that buffets are basically bacteria exchanges, Jesus Christ Jeff don’t eat at those things!

Ritz crackers, cheese slices, and water.

I think it depends upon the type of bacteria in question. I’ve developed food poisoning before in a just a couple hours but on the other hand (just a few weeks ago) developed it closer to 12 hours later.

As other people have said, it depends on the bacteria and the amount of bacteria contamination. The classic food poisoning from the the potato salad at a hot summer picnic is the fastest (1-4 hours), but most infections take 8-24 hours to develop, some can take days.

Extensive table of bacteria and time of onset:

I thought you got sick the night you ate bad food?

Most people get sick 1-2 meals after the meal that was contaminated, but blame the last meal. Most bacteria need time to percolate and grow before you feel the effects. Its kind of like letting bread rise overnight – the yeast need time to grow, so do bacteria.

How sick you get will depend on the type of infection and you ability to keep up with what you lose as vomit and diarrhea. If you are vomiting and cannot keep fluids down, you are going to get sicker than if you just have diarrhea.

Drink water or water with gatorade. Eat what you can. If you are having problems with vomiting, drink the water as small sips.

The one time where I am 100% sure I had food poisoning was in Hawaii and we ate dinner at 7pm and by 2-3am the wife and I were both puking and shitting our brains out.

I suppose depending on the strain it could take longer.

My first (and 2nd to date) case of food poisoning: I was in high school and had just finished eating a sandwich which had a hefty layer of Alfalfa Sprouts. I didn’t end up throwing up even though I did get extremely nauseous. Mostly my vision vibrated and twisted in and out. It was horrible. I tried sleeping, but couldn’t keep a clear mind and what ever popped in my head ended up spinning too. Haven’t touched Alfalfa Sprouts since.

Yep, roughly 8 hours. Never felt worse in my life. Fuck you Baskin Robbins!

Always middle of the night for me, so call it 6 hours. The good news is that you’ll lose a bunch of weight. The bad news is that you’re notoriously unsound to begin with and might not be able to afford the loss or stress. If you’re just puking and not defecating continually it’s probably a good thing, once you get past a certain point try to get some water and salts down your throat and sleep. If you’re going from both ends, then once you get to a certain point where the reflex obviously isn’t helping clear your system any more, I suggest Immodium just to have peace for a while. You probably won’t actually feel any sort of hunger for over 24 hours after this, but please keep hydrated.


Feel better, Jeff. Sounds like the flu to me, but that sucks too, I guess.

One of the most common forms of food poisoning isn’t bacteria, but a virus: Novovirus. It is very infectious and takes about 24-48 hours to kick in. I’ve had it at least once. It tends to come in outbreaks. The last time I got it my friend also got it. I was sick in bed for a day, he was hospitalised because he couldn’t hold down water long enough to absorb it and became dangerously dehydrated.

I’m feeling much better today after losing from both ends. One of the things I was suspicious of was the cocktail shrimp (peel & eat variety & some were poorly deveined). They were quite yummy at the time though.

Relieved it’s over.

How long before you head back there? You know you wanna!

Them shrimp are dangerous after they have been into the cocktails for a while.

I love seafood (or shell fish) but, the couple times I have had food poisoning were after eating seafood. I eat it often so the law of averages is pretty good. One memorable time was after a bowl of mighty fine clam chowder, which had me sicker than a dog for days (but it was at least a decade ago, so I’ll keep eating our finny and slimy friends!).

I’ve never had food poising ever. I might be immune.

I “decorated” an entire public restroom with a calzone once. Well, almost the entire restroom. One stall was fine. The rest (the other stall, door, sink, wall and entire floor) not so much. I was fine by the next day, but it took me the better part of a week to build up the courage to return with an apologetic gift basket.

Depends on the bacteria/fungus.

But most of food poisoning bugs take around 8 hours ish.

There are some bugs that take less than 30 minutes, and some that can take up to 48 hours to kick in, but I would say that the majority of food poisoning bacteria take around 6-8 hours.