Common Symptoms of Food Poisoning

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are more than a dozen food-related illnesses commonly found in the United States. Three of the most widely reported are E. Coli, Salmonella and Shigella.

E. Coli (Escherichia coli)

E. Coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria reside in the intestines. Although most varieties of E. coli are not harmful, some strains can be more serious, such as E. coli 0157:H7. This strain can cause serious organ damage, including kidney failure. E. coli infections typically occur after exposure (through ingestion or personal contact) to contaminated water or raw vegetables, unpasteurized milk or undercooked ground beef.

SYMPTOMS: Diarrhea (mild to severe), bloody stools, abdominal cramping, abdominal pain/soreness, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually show up in 3 to 7 days after exposure and last for about a week. Those with compromised immune systems should be closely monitored to avoid complications from an E. coli infection.


Salmonella is a bacterial infection that usually occurs in the intestinal tract. Infections can come from contaminated water, meat, poultry or eggs. There are about a dozen varieties of salmonella that cause illness, and most American cases are attributed to poor food handling, storage or preparation.

SYMPTOMS: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain/cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains, severe dehydration and blood in the stool. Symptoms typically present within 12 to 72 hours and can last anywhere from four to seven days. Although medical attention is not usually necessary, people with pre-existing conditions can experience complications.


Shigella is a group of bacteria that affects the intestines. It can be contracted through contact with contaminated stools, contaminated water (such as in swimming pools) or through ingestion of contaminated food or water. Day care workers and children ages 2-4 are most at risk.

SYMPTOMS: Diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramping and fever. The infection symptoms usually show up in 12-48 hours and Shigella usually clears on its own in a week or so, although serious cases require medical attention.

Only a qualified medical professional can diagnose food poisoning. If you think you may have a food-related illness, seek immediate medical attention. At Newland, Newland & Newland, LLP, we handle all types of food poisoning cases in Cook County, Kane County, Will County, Lake County and McHenry County. We have four offices throughout the metropolitan area (Arlington Heights, Crystal Lake, Libertyville and Chicago) to serve you, so contact us today via phone or e-mail to schedule your free initial consultation today.

  • Newland & Newland LLP, Attorneys, Arlington Heights, IL